Comic Review: Springtime in Chernobyl (IDW)

One of the more thought-provoking and emotionally charged releases of the summer, Springtime n Chernobyl is released in hardcover format this week by IDW. It’s the true, real-life account of […]

One of the more thought-provoking and emotionally charged releases of the summer, Springtime n Chernobyl is released in hardcover format this week by IDW.

It’s the true, real-life account of artist Emmanuel LePage’s 2008 journey to the site of the 1986 nuclear reactor meltdown in Ukraine. LePage writes and illustrates this journey in a masterful way. He begins by describing the horrifying event itself, the international attention and political impact of the Chernobyl accident, and the effect of the radiation on the land and the people who continue to live and work nearby.

As over 7 million people have been affected directly or indirectly by the radiation, the documentary-style graphic novel has a tremendous responsibility to be adherent to the truth of the story. LePage does it true justice.

At times openly optimistic and heartwarming, and at other times horrifying, this journey, covering the fundraising of the trip, the travel to the nearby towns surrounding Chernobyl, and the subsequent experiences during the team’s residency, is unforgettable. LePage’s sketches, a term I use loosely, really tell us the tale. At times fully embued with tone and detail, and at other times impressionist and loose, the watercolour, pastel and pencil sketches are amazing.

Combining LePage’s unvarnished telling of his time in Ukraine, and his drawings done while sitting, masked, in the eerie atmosphere of the still-radiated zone, this is one of my picks for best graphic novel of 2019. I highly recommend this book.

IDW, Springtime in Chernobyl, $24.99 for 170 pages of content. Teen

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!