Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Nobody by Jeff Lemire

Published in 2009, The Nobody is Jeff Lemire's first graphic novel. Although it is obvious that Lemire was inspired by H.G. Wells' classic story of the invisible man, I feel there an almost Steinbeckian feel to this tragic tale. A man, believing himself invisible commits heinous acts. Yet did he really hurt anyone but himself and was he in fact invisible? A lot of Lemire's later work echoes this distorted sense of reality.

The reader experiences The Nobody largely through the eyes of Vicky, a sixteen year old student and diner attendant. Her narrative explains the curiosity and cruelty of a small town's reaction to a bandage-covered stranger. Jon Griffin is dressed head to toe in bandages and wears strange, completely circular spectacles. He arrives at Wide Mouth (home of the worlds largest bass) and books a room at the local motel where he conducts odd experiments.

The book is unquestionably Lemire and carries the artistic style which has made him both successful and celebrated. It would be interesting to know how he came to choose the coloring for the book. To me, the sky blue exists in the illustrations to give you the feeling of a cold, and isolated little town, much how I could imagine Griffin feeling as he hides alone behind his bandages.

As with most of Lemire's work, the ending tastes of bitter sweet, yet leaves on a soft note that makes you smile. 

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