Vlog: Graphic novels – Sabrina/Apollo

Hey everyone, welcome back to the
Waterstones vlog. It’s Will here again and this week’s vlog comes for another
strange location, coming from my living room this week due to unforeseen
circumstances. Anyway I’m here to tell you very quickly about a couple of
graphic novels that have grabbed my attention, both of them are published on
the 7th of June. The first one I want to talk to you about is that masterpiece, it is this
one here. It’s called Sabrina by Nick Drnaso I have probably not pronounced
that correctly Nick, I’m sorry about that. It’s got a very simple bit of puff quote
on the front here from Zadie Smith: ‘A masterpiece.’ And you have to be very
careful when using words like masterpiece but graphic novels, the first
graphic novel I ever read was Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware and it completely
blew my mind as to sort of what the possibilities were for a graphic novel
or for comics in general. What they could really achieve and the high literary
ambitions are something like Chris Ware’s work. This book absolutely fits into that
category and I predict great things for this book. Not only does it share
something in common with Chris Ware’s work, very simple graphic design to its
panels, very little emotion shown on the faces of the characters; but it taps into
something which is absolutely current right now and is expressed in this book
better than I can think of it being expressed in any normal novel that I can
think of reading recently. And that is this idea about the impact of social
media, of current events, of media – mainstream media taking over your
life when when you become a news story or somebody close to you becomes a news
story. Sabrina has gone missing and the question in this book is what has
happened to her and unfortunately what has happened to her is not good,
it’s not so much about her life, it’s about her death and we will see how it
will impact on her sister and on her boyfriend. Her boyfriend goes to live
with an old friend of his who’s now a servicemen, this is all happening in
America by the way, and these two men have these very sort of muted
conversations with each other. There is this sort of inability to communicate
very clearly about what is happening, it is all about sort of bits of
information being withheld from each other. And then as the impact of a
videotape which contains, it contains Sabrina’s death, and as that hits the
news outlets we then get all sorts of sort of conspiracy theories about what
has happened, who the killer might be, we have this sort of amazing look at the
forums on the internet and how people talk and communicate with each other and
most importantly of course we see the impact that this has on the main
characters that we’ve met in the course of the book. And as I said it taps into
this thing about when the news story, if it affects you, when it just runs away
and when the truth of the situation, it’s not really the important thing, let alone
the emotional impact of what’s happening might be having on somebody. I think
that’s really, really interesting and this book deals with it, as I said, in a way
that I’ve never seen before. Absolutely gets to the heart of the
matter and I do think that Nick Drnaso is something of a genius.
If you’ve enjoyed the work of Chris Ware or Adrian Tomine, people like that, I think you
will really appreciate this book. I will hopefully have been able to show you
some of the panels as I’ve been talking to give you an idea of the artwork but it
really is an incredible, incredible book and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to
see this on book prize lists through 2018 and into 2019 because it has lofty
ambitions and it absolutely delivers on every page. So there we go – Sabrina by Nick Drnaso – can’t recommend it highly enough. And also a quick mention
for this book here which is called Apollo And this is a look at, as you may be able
to tell, the Apollo moon landing. It is from Mike Collins, Matt Fitch and Chris
Barker, it’s published by SelfMadeHero. Sorry, should have mentioned that
Sabrina is published by Granta. And this is a look at the Apollo moon landings,
the Apollo missions, and it almost takes the form of a sort of extended dream in
a way because you go from seeing lift off throughout the whole sort of
mission and then returning back home again. And through that
there is this almost sort of hallucinatory feeling to it because we
get to sort of see how the various astronauts feel about what’s happening,
we get these sort of flashbacks to what happened earlier on in the Apollo
program, which of course was beset by worries and troubles and even deaths. We
also get to see how it affects the relatives and the loved ones of those
astronauts, we see how it’s affecting the whole of America, we see how it’s
affecting Nixon in the White House. It taps into sort of what an iconic and
definitive moment this was in the American psyche, if you like, the American
story of itself. And so there is this slightly psychedelic feeling to what is
going on as I said it has this very hallucinatory dreamlike feel which I
really, really love. So it’s the kind of book that absolutely will sort of force
you to sit and read it in one go because it’s very, very easy to flip from page to
page, the story is compelling of course, but also this sort of feeling of one
thing merging into another makes it a very sort of lovely… I don’t
know what this movement is but it’s the best way that I can
explain what it’s like reading this book! So obviously for anybody who was a sort
of astronaut or moon landing nut, this would make a great gift or great read if
you happen to be that person and there’s some really nice again, hopefully I’ve been able to show you some of the panels from inside the book; there’s this sort
of slightly retro feel to the artwork in there as well which seems entirely
fitting for the period. So yeah, I really enjoyed that too. So that is Apollo by
Fitch, Baker and Collins. As I said both those books are out on the 7th of June.
If you are a graphic novel lover I recommend them both. I will be talking
about more graphic novels hopefully in the future, more novels in the future too,
but for now, that is all. Take care, see you soon.

One thought on “Vlog: Graphic novels – Sabrina/Apollo

  1. Not being a reader of Graphic Novels before this I have nothing to compare it with as to the overall artwork and production.

    I actually enjoyed it and made a change! It is very current in addressing issues such as fake news and the impact of social media which is a subject that I think of quite often in terms of how damaging it can be and how it can encourage lazy thinking en masse.

    Sabrina certainly felt atmospheric and creepy and the lack of dialogue added to a sense of beleaguerment.

    My only criticism would be that the story fell away somewhat in the closing sequences and I would have liked to see a differently worked ending.

    Will it make the cut? I don't believe so but we wont have long to find out!

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