by Kevin Norris
A while back, I wrote a blog titled, “Graphic Novels in the Classroom.” The idea of teaching a Graphic Novel sounded intriguing. Of course students would love them. They are, I assumed, full of stimulating graphic and engaging text. I mean, what does a teacher want? He or she wants his or her students to be engaged in the text. As teachers, we want our students to love to read.
I have never been one to like comic books. Yes, I pretended to like them as a child because my friends did. And yes, I did dress up like Superman and Aquaman . However, they failed to really engross me into the text. I liked books like Charolotte’s Web, The Outsiders, and The Hobbit. Nevertheless, being the “Curious George” that I am, I had to find out what the buzz was surrounding graphic novels.
Walking in the isle of Barnes and Nobles, I noticed a copious amount of Graphic Novels. Surprisingly, old classic stories filled the shelves: Batman and Superman. I didn’t care that much to look at them when I was I kid, so I wasn’t motivated to view them now. Then, my eyes fixated on Invisible Republic, written by Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko and Jordan Boyd. Its cover was dark with only a glimpse of the sun, as if in a cave.
At the mouth of the cave there stands a man in a dark overcoat. His eyes are glowing. There is a woman next to him. Both are holding a sword which reminds me of Darth Maul’s two edged light saber. However, looking closer, it’s easy to see that it is not a cave, but a passageway to perhaps another dimension. There are flickers of light that resemble stars. There is a moon that resembles Star Wars’ Death Star and space ships that look like it is attacking the moon. Being a devoted Star Wars fan and since it resembles Star Wars, I bought it for $9.99, hoping it would be a good reason to sacrifice a green tea latte and spinach and artichoke quiche lunch.
The setting begins on a moon called Avalon, located in the Gliese System. The plot combines politics and science fiction. One Regime, Malory Regime, has ended; therefore, another regime must take its place.
The plot centers on a writer who is given secret documents from someone that resembles a homeless person. Then the narration goes back 40 years. The reader finds out that the moon was once called Maidstone. The document describes the events of mainly two characters: Arthur McBride and Maia. It turns out the writer of the manuscript is Maia. She tells how she was deceived by Arthur McBride and the events that follow.
Personally, I found the narrative difficult to follow. I need clear transitions from the present to the past and vice-versa. The transitions are not clear. Perhaps, this is a learned skill. By one who is raised reading comic books.
Nevertheless, the pictures are well illustrated, giving awesome details of the landscape. The colors are dark, mirroring the dark, corrupted characters in the book. The detailed illustrations of the characters give the characters life.
However, I don’t think it’s for me. I like to visualize the landscape and characters in my mind, often imagining that I am a character in the book. That’s why a book is unique to each person. Since the characters were drawn out for me, my imagination was not stimulated.
Furthermore, I was unable to lose myself within the fictional dream. I love to lose myself to a book, having the characters and plots form inside my head, having time slip by without even knowing how long I’ve been reading until I’ve stopped at the end of a chapter to check the time.
I couldn’t do that with this Graphic Novel. I found myself staring at the pictures, not engages with the narrative. I also found myself going back and forth trying to figure out what was going on. I guess the novel would help students learn inference skills.
However, as far a Graphic Novels are concerned, it does have an appealing plot and the visuals are good. So, if you like comic books with curse words in it, the Invisible Public would probably be for you.