Monday, October 7, 2013

North 40 by Aaron Williams & Fiona Staples

North 40 brings a whole lot of wonderfully, sinless characters together on a harrowing journey to save their town from being engulfed by demonic powers...is what I would say if all of the characters in this story were flat, fairy-tale like characters typecast into sad gender roles. North 40 gives us a diverse and imaginative world with men and women who aren't wholly evil or good. I could give you the full run down on the events, but I'd rather give you a brief summary. As brief as possible as I typically do :

Teenagers in a library, being stupid and reading restricted books; unleashing terrifying, ancient "evil dead-esq" powers on small town America. Some towns folk are transformed into grotesque beasts while some towns folk transform other town folk into grotesque - man-eating - giant - automobile monsters. Some reasonably good forces band together to stop the slaughter. THE END (kind of).

That is the shortest summary I could come up with. The plot isn't really what I want to talk about. As far a synopsis goes, it's pretty average. Honestly, this has happened before. Opening up gates of demons, magic, other dimensional beings and general chaos is a pretty common theme in horror movies, books and graphic novels alike. Let's not forget about pen and pencil RPG's! A little Rifts anyone?

That being said, it doesn't take a fantastic synopsis to make a great graphic novel. It takes a talented artist to interpret masterful storytelling and make it real for all of us. As previously stated, I'm not awed by the plot. I am awed by the artwork and the hilarious world both writer and artist have cultivated. We've got some interesting characters. A lot of them actually. The twisted things that happen to them, well that just makes it more fun. Again, I don't want to spoil the ride but for anyone currently engaged in Fiona Staples work in Saga, it might be worth my saying so that this book is some of Staples' most finest work. Of course I am personally in love with Saga, but the detail in North 40 makes Saga look flat and rushed in comparison. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to criticize Saga, I am merely stating that Staples' work in North 40 is far more detailed. However this could be due a difference in art mediums; an observation that I am making based entirely on conjecture. I am not afraid to admit that I do not have any information to back up that hunch. If you are a fan of Staples work, you need to take a look at North 40. You would be missing out if passed over this gem.