Graphic Novel (wordless)
Publisher: INDEX: Research and Dialogue
Text by Yiouli Taki and David Officer
Art by Christopher Malapitan
Coloured by Anna Photiadou
This book is a first for me on a variety of levels. It”s the first graphic novel I”ve read that was created and published in Cyprus, it”s the first graphic novel I”ve read which does not have a single line of dialogue, it”s the first graphic novel I”ve read which is based on true stories and through it I”ve learned for the first time that Cyprus has a human trafficking problem.
At first I was a tad apprehensive reviewing a book without dialogue, but any misconceptions I might have had were dispelled as soon as I started reading. This is largely thanks to Christopher”s distinct and clear sense of panelling. The clever use of micro panels to indicate motion helps the story to flow, and despite the lack of dialogue everything that happens in the graphic novel is very easily understood which is more than one can say for a large number of comic books. In fact although I never pictured myself saying this before, I firmly believe that this book would not have worked so well had dialogue been included.
The excellent panels are further enhanced by the intelligent use of colouring employed by Anna Photiadou. Bright colours bring to life happy emotions while the constant use of black background and dark layouts signify the turmoil experienced by the protagonist. If this book is anything to go by than Christopher Malapitan is certainly a creator to watch out for in the future.
Published by INDEX: Research and Dialogue, The Tunnel seeks to raise awareness about the human traffic king problem in Cyprus, although unfortunately such a problem rears it”s ugly head in other countries as well. The female protagonist in the book represents the trials and tribulations experienced by a number of victims who had the courage to share their experiences with the creators of the book. Rather than getting tangled in the complexities of this issue the creators opted to tell a simple story highlighting the salient facts of the problem, and as a result the book is both informative and entertaining to read.
On the rear pages of the book Malapitan”s fantastic artwork is nicely complimented by a series of text explaining both the process involved in the creation of this book as well as focusing on the seriousness of the problem. Taki”s and Officer”s writing is sharp, strong, flowing and concise and together with Malapitan”s artwork contribute to the effectiveness of the graphic novel.
Since the primary role of this graphic novel is raise awareness it is not being sold but freely distributed. So anyone who wishes to blag himself a copy is kindly requested to contact Christopher Malapitan on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the blog: http://heruntoldstory.wordpress.com. I strongly recommend that you do because it”s not every day that a graphic novel of such a standard is available for free.
Chris Le Galle
Note: Christopher Malapitan will be attending the Malta Comic Con 2011, so if you want to learn more about the comics scene in Cyprus, or simple obtain a copy of The Tunnel make sure to join him!