Comic Review: The Shadow of A Man (IDW Publishing)

IDW is releasing, at long last, an English language version of a European graphic novel The Shadow of a Man. It’s the fourth release in Alaxis Press’ The Obscure Cities […]

IDW is releasing, at long last, an English language version of a European graphic novel The Shadow of a Man. It’s the fourth release in Alaxis Press’ The Obscure Cities series.

Our lead character, Albert Chamisso is an insurance salesman. Top of the heap, sharp as a tack. He’s just married Sarah, a beautiful young woman who is much in love with Albert. But Albert has begun to have nightmares. People crawling up to his bed, carrying him off. That sort of thing. Desperate for a cure, Albert turns to an experimental treatment. Unfortunately, the cure has a side effect: Albert’s shadow is in colour! He is astonished and embarrassed. His wife, employer, and neighbours are alarmed, and Albert’s life begins to unravel. What will become of the insurance salesman’s life?

Benoit Peeters writes this allegorical tale and gives it a futuristic feel. But it’s a mix of old and new: the date is in the future, but with steampunk and Little Nemo of Slumberland overtones. It’s the past, the future, and everything in between. The characters are at once formal, but poetic in nature. Fascinating, really. And so is the art by Francois Schuiten; elegant, well-mannered, full coloured, and imaginative. Skyscrapers and iron fences.

The afternotes of The Shadow of a Man are interesting too; the author and artist revisited their original 1998 book and revised it for a 2008 printing. Their accounts are worth reading even 13 years later.

IDW, The Shadow of a Man, $19.99 for 104 pages, Mature

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!!