Vertigo is known for releasing some of the most compelling tales in mature storytelling. Stories that not only pull the reader into a new world, but often make them reflect on their own. No writer does this better than Canadian Jeff Lemire. Lemire is famous for his popular works: Essex County, Animal Man, Sweet Tooth, and the just recently released (and amazing), “The Underwater Welder“. These works have won him tons of awards for not only his unique storytelling abilities but artistic approach to his work and to the medium.
Lemire’s art style is uncanny, often his characters appear thin, are almost blank and at times almost emotionless or expressionless. Some even look broken, shattered, flawed or with a sense of desperation behind their eyes. It is in his panel to panel framing that he generates such true to life drama between characters. Lemire sketchy style deliver breathtaking emotion that can only come from a true talent.
Lemire’s 2009 graphic novel “The Nobody“, is a modern-day tale of the HG Wells story “The Invisible Man” but with a small town twist mixed with a fear of the unknown. The Nobody focus’ on mysterious and lonesome individual John Griffin, who suddenly appears in the fishing village of Large Mouth. He is bandaged from head to toe and stirs up quite the controversy among locals. Though he has a friendly and cordial demeanor, his appearance frightens them, leaving them only to question what caused his freakish appearance and why he has come to their small town. This questioning leads to paranoia, and even to unintelligent blind hysteria, putting this loner at the focal point of a very precarious situation.
His connections with the townspeople are trivial and he spends much of his time alone, working in a hotel room attempting to find a cure for the disease which keeps his physical body invisible. Though accepted by them, he gradually fades away and the towns people begin to forget about him; all except for one girl who attempts to get close to him and uncover the mystery of John Griffin’s past. Along the way, pressure builds among the paranoid people of Large Mouth and finally boils over. As soon as Griffin gets comfortable he is greeted by a mysterious partner from his past and the plot unfolds. In time you find that there is a lot more to Griffin’s invisibility than just a scientific accident, and the result of his playing god is much more scarring and tragic then original HG Wells tale. Lemire does a great job of keeping you on the edge of your seat guessing till the very end.
One scene in which i found to be of particular importance involves an altercation with a dog. Griffin’s invisible hand becomes exposed, when he gets home he spends time re-bandaging it and finally says to himself “i see you”. It would seem as though Griffin’s sense of self has diminished since the accident. This conveys an interesting idea about how human beings perceive their sense of self. If one cannot see ones body, does one truly exist in physical reality? Does it only require a consciousness or independent thoughts to be alive? is Griffin a man or has he become a ghost left to haunt those left on earth?
The Nobody is a graphic novel classic which is certainly a personal favorite as well as a fan favorite. Fans of mature storytelling will love Lemire’s twist on the horror classic and the drama that unfolds. Lemire takes us on a journey to his own “Twilight Zone” where anything is possible.
I was fortunate enough to meet Jeff at NY Comic Con 2012, he was a really great, humble guy and couldn’t thank us enough for the continued support.
Check out Jeff Lemires blog here! – http://jefflemire.blogspot.com/