Rivers, an original graphic novel from IDW (Top Shelf Productions), delves deep into the mysterious land of dreamscapes and isolation. It’s a powerfully put-together book.

David Gaffney, from Manchester UK (Never Never, The Three Rooms in Valerie’s Head, etc) brings together a disparate group of people from different walks of life and surrounds their collective odyssey with layers of coincidence and mystery. His writing brings us in close. The characters are unique, flawed, self-critical, moody. They emote, mostly to themselves, as we eavesdrop.

Gideon, an IT technician, is lonely and obsessed with a comic book from his youth. By contrast, Heidi works from home, and lives in a semi-dream world, also isolated from other people. And Peter, a 56-year-old divorcee, delivers cars to clients. He’s obsessed with the past. What connection do these people have with each other?

Dan Berry’s (the podcast Make It Then Tell Everybody, 24 by 7, etc) artwork adds an element of storybook theatre to the narrative; each character’s scenes and sequences have their own colour palette. And the comic book pages that Gideon thinks about (The Ghoulor Hunters) are brighter, contrastier, and have a different font. The combined result is a tapestry of individual stories, one that weaves together all the individual subplots and characters, eventually binding them tighter and tighter.

All in all, it’s a touching adventure, with twists and thoughtful sidebars.

IDW Top Shelf, Rivers, $19.99 for 188 pages of content.

By 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!!