Emerald City Comicon is coming up March 1 – 4, and also coming to The Seattle Public Library for a day aimed at educators and librarians! To celebrate, let’s take a look at the idea of worldbuilding in comics and graphic novels. Worldbuilding is the process by which the writer and the artist (in the case of comics) create and elaborate upon the world in which the story is set, beyond the basic trappings necessary to tell a plot-based tale. This tends to include details about things such as fashion, culture, language, and geography, which further contextualize the story in a way that also preserves enough mystery to keep the readers coming back for more.
Here are four recent comics and graphic novel series, all obtainable at The Seattle Public Library, in which worldbuilding is a crucial part of the storytelling:
Afar vol. 1 written by Leila del Duca, art by Kit Seaton
This absorbing first volume of Afar follows teen siblings Boetema and Inotu, fleeing from an android cutthroat in a post-industrial desert landscape. Concurrently, 15-year-old Boetema unexpectedly develops the capacity to astral project to another world while asleep. Markedly non-European in art style and inspiration, the combination of otherworldly science fiction, medieval African, and post-industrial design makes for a welcomingly distinct experience.
Monstress vol. 1 & 2 written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda
A world of humans, human witches, anthropomorphic animal demigods, and animal-human hybrids is the enthralling setting of Monstress, the story of Maika Half-wolf, our protagonist (but-it’s-not-really-that-simple), who is, as their name suggests, a hybrid wolf-human. Having lost an arm — and a whole lot more — in the recent war between humans and Arcanics (the aforementioned animal demigods and hybrids), Maika must uncover what’s happened to her mother in order to figure out what’s going on with the demon that seems to have replaced her lost arm.
The Nameless City vol. 1 & 2
written and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
The first two volumes in The Nameless City trilogy follow the developing friendship between Kaidu, the son of a foreign-ruling-class diplomat, and Rat, a local of the Nameless City. After an attempted assassination of the city’s aged ruling General reveals deep conflict within the foreign ruling nation itself, Kaidu rediscovers the formula to a lost weapon developed by the original builders of the Nameless City; but should this information be shared with the city’s current occupiers, given to those who would seek to expel them, or kept secret? The third and final volume The Divided Earth comes out in September 2018!
Shutter vol. 1-5 written by Joe Keatinge, art by Leila del Duca
The five volumes of the Shutter saga see explorer Kate Kristopher drawn into the mysterious and damaged world of her long lost father and the illuminati-esque group known as Prospero. This world is the world of Story itself, with anthropomorphic animals, pop-cultural references, well-developed characters and relationships, and, of course, plenty of adventure.
~ posted by Mychal L.