Book/Author: Here by Richard McGuire
Publisher/Year: December 4th 2014 by Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Graphic novel, Fiction
“Here is Richard McGuire’s unique graphic novel based on the legendary 1989 comic strip of the same name.
Richard McGuire’s groundbreaking comic strip Here was published under Art Spiegelman’s editorship at RAW in 1989.
Built in six pages of interlocking panels, dated by year, it collapsed time and space to tell the story of the corner of a room – and its inhabitants – between the years 500,957,406,073 BC and 2033 AD.
The strip remains one of the most influential and widely discussed contributions to the medium, and it has now been developed, expanded and reimagined by the artist into this full-length, full-colour graphic novel – a must for any fan of the genre.” (Goodreads)
First and foremost, I have to admit that I might be wrong or completely overlooked something genius, but I did not enjoy this book. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I will not bash the book, but instead will highlight things that I liked and disliked that may be helpful to people reading this review who are picking up this quick read.
The concept of the book had me hooked. Through artwork, McGuire depicts the past, present, and future of one particular location (first introduced as a living room in the 2014) and how this spot has changed over time. In this living room, readers are taken to different spurts in time, which include: the prehistoric dinosaur age, hunting grounds of Native Americans, contemporary family living, and a futuristic 2314 — just to name a few.
Undeniably it is an interesting premise to think about one spot and reflect on all the things that happened in that very spot. But this is where the interest abruptly ends; I felt that the story didn’t expand or go deeper beyond that premise.
I think that I felt a disconnect with the story because of the lack of voice and climax. Yes, this is a graphic novel, and there shouldn’t be a lot of text, but still there is very little dialogue. I would have liked to have seen more conversation. As for a storyline, there isn’t really one, just a bunch of minor things that happened in this one spot, but nothing really WOW!
Because of the lack of plot and voice, I think that Here relies heavily on the reader to do their research outside the book (or have a fair understanding of American history) to draw conclusions – which I wasn’t much in the mood to do homework. Secondly, I had a hard time shifting back and forth to different times and trying to piece together if this detail related to something I saw 30+ pages back.
What I did like was the artwork; more specifically, I enjoyed the formatting style where some pages showed multiple images overlapped over the core/background picture to show how various things that happened at different points in time throughout the room.