One Soul

( 1 )


Eighteen individuals throughout history whose entire lives unfold simultaneously. Comprised entirely of doublepage spreads split into eighteen panels with each panel featuring one character''s life, cartoonist Ray Fawkes has artfully crafted eighteen linear stories into one non-linear masterpiece.

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One Soul

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Eighteen individuals throughout history whose entire lives unfold simultaneously. Comprised entirely of doublepage spreads split into eighteen panels with each panel featuring one character''s life, cartoonist Ray Fawkes has artfully crafted eighteen linear stories into one non-linear masterpiece.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An ambitious novelty that follows a single soul as it's reincarnated through human history, this graphic novel is intricately constructed. Each two-page spread is divided evenly into two three-by-three grids. Each of its 18 individual stories takes place in a single panel in that grid through the book's 88 spreads, so that to follow, say, the life of a silk heiress in Imperial China, the reader fastens the eye to a single spot in the book and then turns the pages quickly. A few of the 18 heroes, like a doctor in plague-ridden medieval Europe, make an impression, but the pixilated story mostly allows the characters' lives to register only in flashes. (Historically accurate, these lives are often nasty, brutish, and short.) But Fawkes creates black-and-white tableaux of action, grief, sex and death spanning centuries. Individual spreads allow 18 characters to speak in unison, as when we see every subject's eyes widen simultaneously. When a character dies, his panel goes black for the rest of the book, and we meet the soul itself in cryptic narration. If the words that flicker across those panels offer lightweight philosophizing, there's still unexpected resonance in turning the pages and seeing more and more of the book turning dark. (July)
*Starred Review*

"Last year Chris Ware chronicled in comics form an entire life from birth to death (The Acme Novelty Library, v.20). Here, Fawkes performs that same feat 18 times over, simultaneously. The book's conceptual gambit comes from the design, which has each two-page spread laid out into an 18-panel grid. Each of these fixed panel locations follows, one frozen moment at a time, a distinct life from the darkness of the womb to the darkness of death. The first task a reader must perform is to pick up the hints in each story line that set the time and place: a prehistoric hunter, a priestess of Artemis, a Japanese silk-spinner, a Muslim warrior during the Crusades, a plague doctor, a patriot in the Revolutionary War, a Parisian diva, a WWI pilot, a junkie in punk-era Britain. Moreover, there is the choice to either read each story like an arrow shot through the book from front to back, or all together as a tableau on each spread. Either way, the book demands active participation to draw parallels and perpendiculars among the stories and construct meanings from the arrays of symbols and clipped fragments of narration. If it seems like an awful lot to ask of a reader, it s because Fawkes, busy wrestling with huge, meaning-of-life questions and large-scale themes of conflict, faith, and love, could sure use a hand. What it all fuses into is a remarkable and multilinear reading experience. Another new frontier explored in the comics medium."

Graphic Novel Reporter
"It is difficult to grasp just how complicated and complex Fawkes' process was for this book, but it pays off on nearly every page. One Soul demands more from its readers than the usual genre fare that occupies the majority of the graphic marketplace. It is also a text, I believe, that will be better suited to print than digital formats because of the individualized and varied approaches readers can have with the novel. Fawkes, along with Oni Press, should be commended on both fronts for taking such a daring and experimental concept and giving it substance and a stage. Apart from its artistic and literary merits, One Soul also has importance for students of sequential art and the graphic medium itself because it would make for an excellent source of classroom discussion and debate regarding Fawkes' methodologies."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934964668
  • Publisher: Oni Press
  • Publication date: 7/20/2011
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 286,497
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014


    Tells 18 stories at the same time

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