The Nobody

August 31, 2009 | Graphic novels

Jeff Lemire took home a pile of awards for his debut graphic novel trilogy writing and illustrating tales about the intricacies of small town life.

For his Vertigo debut, he just sticks with what works.

On the heels of the Essex County Trilogy, which earned the Toronto resident Joe Shuster and Doug Wright Awards, as well as nominations for the coveted Eisner and Harvey Awards, Lemire delivers The Nobody (Vertigo, $22.99, 144 pages), a modern take H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man.

John Griffen’s arrival in the small town of Large Mouth, population 754, sets the locals abuzz. The mysterious fellow, covered in bandages anywhere his skin would show and sporting dark black goggles, stays in his motel room most of the time, only venturing out to the local diner every few days for takeout food.

The diner owner’s teenaged daughter, Vickie, quickly takes an interest in the enigmatic stranger and sets out to learn the truth about who he is and why he hides his face and the pair begin a sort of unusual friendship. Meanwhile, other, more paranoid, folks in town slowly begin to find Griffen a convenient scapegoat for everything bad that happens and look for a way to rid their town of this foreign element.

Featuring striking black-and-white artwork accented beautifully by the use of light blue, The Nobody cements Lemire’s status as both a star graphic novelist and one of Canada’s national treasures.

(This review first appeared in the Toronto Star)

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