Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sketch A Day #1, Hugo Cabret & Steranko's Cap
A number of years ago The Invention of Hugo Cabret ended up on my daughter's book shelf. I've no idea where it came from, but i scooped it up to read. Enjoyed it, thought that as long as you didn't try to make sense of it, your could let the plot flow along because, well, the writer was taking it where he wanted it to go. It was filled with a child's sense of wonder at the world, and a distinct lack of grown-up inflicted logic to ruin the experience. Appropriate, since the protagonist is a child, one who lived in a fairy tale world behind the clock works of a busy Paris train station. It is appropriately viewed as both staging area and metaphor since Hugo and his deceased father were the ones that kept the clocks running on time, and now that his father has passed away, the completion of the clockwork man, the finding of the missing key and the discovery of his orphanhood are coming to a head as his time runs out.
Yes, I hear you complain, I know all that. I've read the reviews and I've seen the trailer. But what you want to know is: is it a graphic novel? Or a Big Little Book on steroids?
Now that's a good question. There certainly are a huge number of illustrations (284 to be precise) as well as prose, and if we're going to argue that graphic novels can be Blankets or Cages or Goodbye Chunky Rice, but not the latest collection TPB of Fables, then we have to consider Cabret a novel. Yes, it has prose sections and employs not a single word balloon in its pages, but it does use images to advance the narrative sequentially, something that pure prose work would never do. Its an inventive use the form, and while a purist might argue that it doesn't fit, i've gotten tired of purists over the years, especially when the person breaking the rules comes up with a solid entertaining read.
You don't find that kind of care and attention to the registration of color these days.