Created by Norm Konyu.
163 pages - Full Colour.
‘Dear Diary, When I came home from school yesterday, the garden gnome spoke to me.’
The Story - ‘Lucas has come home, 12 years after disappearing. Silent. Haunted. And still 11 years old.’
The Review - This is a book that I got an early look at and drops on Kickstarter next month. At it’s heart it is a mystery so I won’t be investigating the plot for you here. I’ll let you discover that for yourself.
This arrived unheralded as far as my social media stream went when I appealed for review copies to keep my bored mind active on a poolside holiday I am currently enduring. I had heard nothing of the book or the creator previously and was impressed and intrigued at the simply told pitch and concept.
The art is what strikes you as different when you start reading. It has the quality of a kids picture book made with an old school animation style. One that you might have seen in the cold evenings on BBC2 as a child. They have a distinct and idiosyncratic style that is both different and yet easy to read. Like shadow paper folded puppets they scatter over the pages interacting and discussing. It has the scent of a classic and creepy fairy tale albeit set in the modern(ish) world.
This book also deals with the anxiety of youth and the need by both young and old to feel safe in their lives. To feel like they belong. Lucas can be seen as the character at the centre of a well crafted mystery and also as an example of the worries of children who know they must grow up and discover the realities and often frightening moments of the ‘Real World.’ This graphic novel delivers levels of reading and understanding in iconic and subtle ways. At first glance it has that Stephen King or Twilight Zone weirdness to it but it has more going on. As well as the fantasy and mystery you get an examination of mental health compared to the realities of modern living and the fast moving changes we all face and parallels in how we individually deal with them.
The narrative of the story is told with different strands and approaches. Both by the parents and other adults near to Lucas but also by Lucas himself and through the diary he decides to keep. The details of his life become stranger and more unusual to this young lad and at the start he can’t work out if these things are just part of a confusing world, a bad dream or something more sinister. The world around Lucas is confusing to him as they are to all of us when we have the innocence and naivety of childhood but in Lucas’ case the incidents of strangeness are much, much sinister.
Today’s the day.
I’m going to ignore the rule
‘never go into the West Wood’.
I was drawn into this book totally and Norm Konyu takes his time to let you know what you need to work out where this particular story is headed. The graphic novel presents a clever mystery and allows for clues and hints to float past the reader, the investigating police and Lucas himself. You watch if they spot them after or simultaneously with yourself. The creator of this graphic novel also does a great job at keeping Lucas a young man, in looks sure, but also in outlook and he is bright and inquisitive but in a way that a kid of his age should be - even though ......... hmmm that might be a spoiler - have a look for yourself.
I’ll be honest that this isn’t the sort of book or of an artistic style that I gravitate normally towards. I took a few days to make the decision to dive in but I am glad that I did. It’s quite an achievement at 163 pages and may seem a little daunting but on reflection I don’t think that its the sort of story that would work if broken up into twenty page single issues.
What is this place called The Junction. It’s not quite what you expect......
Watch out for the book going live on Kickstarter here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thejunction/the-junction-graphic-novel
You can visit the website and find out more about the project here https://junctiongraphicnovel.com/ and follow their progress on Twitter @TheJunctionNovel
Many thanks for reading.