Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Glance Backward by Pierre Paquet

Title: A Glance Backward
Author: Pierre Paquet (no website found)
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Rating: WORTHY!

Illustrated on average by Tony Sandoval.

This graphic novel tells the story of an eleven year old boy evidently living in Europe who somehow manages to garner for himself a passage through a time warp into another realm. This is somewhat confusing at the beginning, but it makes rather startling sense at the end when we discover what the author's agenda was. I was quite taken with this, and was very pleasantly surprised and found that I liked it all the more for this revelation.

The bringing of hourglasses into the story for me recalled Sandman from the Spider-Man comics - the kid is even wearing a shirt reminiscent of the one which Sandman wore in the third of the initial Spider-man trilogy.

In this new realm in which the boy finds himself, there seems to be a series of mini-realms: this house has many mansions! The boy considers, since he feels he is inside a wall of his own home, that each realm is one of the bricks. This is how we know for certain that this is taking place in Europe rather than the USA - no one has brick walls in the US! Lol!

The boy discovers that he has super powers, after a fashion. At least, he can bust through what appear to be solid walls either with his head (accidentally!) or his fist (in desperation). Each time he breaks through, he finds a different kind of world. Some are all dark, and in more than one of these, he encounters a man carrying a candle, and wearing a hat and rain coat, rather like a private detective from popular fifties fiction. The man always quickly speeds away from the boy.

Other realms are different again. One is frozen, one contains some unspecified animal which seems to be hostile. Another is a gorgeous garden. Most of the realms are unpopulated, but in some the boys finds others people, but there is usually only one in any one realm. In one, he encounters a pleasant young woman waiting for a train. In another he finds African tribesmen dancing for rain. In another, there's a man reminiscent of Abe Lincoln who is all but bi-polar. None of these people seem able to help him, and some worlds are downright hostile towards him.

The question is, is this real or is the boy merely using his youthful imagination? Or is something else going on here? Or is it maybe a mix of all three possibilities? I recommend this graphic novel highly. It was touching and engaging, although I have to say that the artwork didn't appeal to me!