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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"In the Small" by Michael Hague

Official Michael Hague Website
Order “In the Small
Read An Interview with Michael Hague via Newsarama

From the award-winning illustrator of such classics as The Wind in the Willows, The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, The Velveteen Rabbit, and the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, comes a stunning new graphic novel—Michael Hague’s first—that examines the question, “Could people survive if we were six inches tall?”

The setup is brilliantly simple. One day in September, present day, a mysterious blue light envelopes the entire world shrinking all of humanity—and just humankind—into miniature, six-inch versions of them selves. In a flash, everything changes. Technology, governments, laws, politics, money . . . everything becomes obsolete. Humans are now at the bottom of the food chain and all that matters anymore is finding food, water, shelter, and just surviving.

The story itself focuses on Bob Willow’s children Mouse and Beat. Mouse is at work with his dad in NYC when the event strikes, and, because of his premonitions, he becomes a messiah for the survivors and leads them on an epic journey in search of a haven. Beat meanwhile, is at home when the change occurs, and ends up embarking on her own quests, including rescuing children from a school and finding a ‘treasure’. Through these two stories, “In the Small” looks at how dangerous the world has suddenly become—a world where rats, dogs, cats and other small animals & insects are now a mortal threat to mankind—how resilient & resourceful human beings can be, and the darker side of humanity. It also leaves many questions unanswered like the cause of the blue light, a man who speaks with angels, and humans transforming into demons…

For a first attempt at a graphic novel, both at writing and illustrating, “In the Small” is quite impressive. For starters, the artwork is just spectacular. Featuring incredible attention to details, vibrant colors, and a knack for drawing faces that vividly express emotion, the visual side of “In the Small” more than lives up to Michael Hague’s reputation as an artist. I should note though that some of the violence is quite graphic, which is a little surprising considering the book is marketed for ‘Ages 12 and up’. As far as the writing, the story is mainly dialogue-driven with very little narration; a style I found very effective, especially since this method uses the outstanding artwork as part of the storytelling process.

Negatively, my only complaints with “In the Small” was how the story concentrates on such a small portion of the Earth—it would have been interesting to see how people in other parts of the world were handling the change—the unexpected cliffhanger at the end, and how quickly I finished the graphic novel ;) Really though, these are fairly insignificant complaints because overall, Michael Hague’sIn the Small” is beautifully illustrated, competently written, and poignantly celebrates such universal themes as life, death, love and faith. In short, it’s easy to see why the movie rights have already been acquired by
Warner Bros., because if done right, “In the Small” will make an extraordinary film, just like “In the Small” is already an extraordinary graphic novel…


daydream said...

This sounds cool. Do people die eaten by small things? I would like to see a bit of that. I also want to see people in Vietnam get eaten by dogs. There is really some dark twisted irony in that one. I am so evil right now.

Robert said...

Yep :) People get killed by cats, dogs, owls, eaten by ants and so on...

Chris, The Book Swede said...

I missed this review totally. Trying to get enough graphic novels on my review pile that I can do a feature every week! And this sounds good!

Btw, with your new layout, I'm glad you're including publisher information -- makes it easier for me to track down the book! ;)


Robert said...

Yeah this book seems to be getting overlooked some, but it's definitely worth checking out, and better late then never!

That's one reason I included the publisher info ;)

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