Friday, 11 March 2011

George Sprott sketch and review

Here's my breakfast sketch of George Sprott by Seth. Such a good book!

Here is my review taken from

It could be argued that 2009 was the year of the graphic novel. It was the year that saw the release of such works as Asterios Polyp andParker:The Hunteras well as collected editions like the Hellboy: Library Editions and Starman Omnibus'(omnibi?). One collected edition that I feel was overlooked is the picture novella GEORGE SPROTT by the cartoonist SETH (Gregory Gallant-pictured)
George Sprott is a collection of strips originally serialised in the funny pages section of the New York Times Magazine from September 2006 to March 2007 and was collected by Drawn&Quarterly. The story that was serialised has been expanded in the collected edition. There is also photos of models painstakingly created by SETH of the buildings of the fictional Canadian city of Lakeside Ontario.
The hardcover book is an unconventional size, measuring in at 12x14 inches (31x37 cm), which does make it difficult to store with other comics, but what it does allow you to do is to pour over the artwork in this book and the amazing cartooning of Seth. 

The Story:
The story starts off focusing on the last day of life of George Sprott, this is to start with, as we journey through George's life from birth to death.
The story has the feel of a documentary (or as George isn't real it be suggested that it may be a mockumentary), which is really difficult to do in a sequential medium. Throughout the story we find out about George's final days as a TV presenter for channel CKCK (number 10 on your dial), his early days as an arctic explorer and even his days in the priesthood (because he was trying not to be drafted into WW1).
You not only see this story from George?s point of view but from the point of view of his family, friends and co-workers. Our perception of George is a combination of experiences and other people?s flawed memories.
Not to spoil anything but to say that at times its funny and at times deeply moving. This story is more about the journey of his life than the ultimate ending. Some pages you will admire George for his impact on the town and others and on other pages you will see him as the most despicable person on the face of the earth. Namely that you will see him as human, and as they say to err is human.
The Art:
SETH?s cartooning style is sparse and mostly monochromatic. This does give the feeling that its simplistic. Nothing could be further from the truth as each line is meticulously placed on the page.
What surprised me about this story is that the layout of the page, in a grid fashion, never falls on the old tropes of the 9 panel or 12 panel grid yet you never have a problem reading the page. Even when SETH incorporates two stories on the one page. This is because he uses different monochromatic colour schemes to show that different yet related stories are shown on the page. This is akin to a voiceover or a split screen image in a film documentary.
Drawn and Quarterly?s collection uses blank pages, usually of differing colours in order to preserve the quality of the page turn and also to almost create a pause (sometimes a sigh and sometimes a huff). There is even fold out pages, one having four fold outs on each side of the page. They have also used a heavier paper stock than usual graphic novels this added with its unusual size make this a unique book from cover to cover even without the art.
In Conclusion:
Because George Sprott is in essence a collection of serialised stories it does make it a very quick read- if you want it to be. I?ve given this book to many friends and are astonished at how quickly they finish it. I personally decided to take my time with it and found the episodic nature of the story refreshing. There were times where I left the book alone for days on end but I never felt that I missed anything from the story. This, to me, is because in essence SETH created this story to be read in weekly segments.
If you?ve ever been to my unit, for coffee or for dinner or even to drop off a parcel you?ll know that I try to force this book into your hand and I would not hesitate to recommend this book to strangers and friend alike.

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