One Week in the Library
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: John Amor
Colourist: Kathryn Layno
Letterer: Good Old Neon
Cover Artist: Frazer Irving
Publisher: Image Comics
A review by Amelia Wellman
Art should always experiment. Strange, weird, new things should always be happening, or else what’s the point? Unfortunately, big brand comics tend to get stuck in ruts and it often falls to smaller companies to make the changes that keep comics, as an artistic medium, feel truly alive. Image has done that in spades with One Week in the Library, the newest graphic novel endeavour to keep comics as weird as they deserve to be.
Welcome to the Library. It’s here that every story ever written is catalogued and monitored by a single man, who’s begun to notice something strange: the books are rebelling. This experimental graphic novella recounts a troublesome week in the library via seven short stories, one for each day, that use comics, infographics, prose, and poetry to play with the graphic medium and explore the multivalent world of living narrative.
One Week in the Library is a series of vignettes. It’s an interesting concept. Each day of the week covers a different story, and since the Library holds every word ever written, there’s a lot to choose from. I’m upset this novella didn’t go on longer, honestly. There was so much more that could have been explored.
If I could only use one word to describe One Week in the Library, it would be “meta”. This is a graphic novel that connects all known universes and then breaks the fourth wall down with a sledgehammer. Wilson (the volleyball best bud from Castaway) shows up in the same story as Pinocchio. The Necronomicon (the book of the dead from Evil Dead) shows up in the background in a panel entirely removed from the context of its source. But all that pales in the face of the ending. I won’t give it away, but I will say that depending on how you feel about meta media, the ending might leave you wanting more.
The art of One Week in the Library is colourful and expressive where it suits the story and then bleak and bland where it suits it equally well. It all ties in very nicely with the experimental angle this graphic novel broaches. One Week in the Library is a textured work with a lot of cross-hatching and shadows. I especially love the wood texture on Pinocchio, very subtle, but beautifully done nonetheless. I wish the books on the shelves had been more detailed, but I understand the constraints. Not all library scenes can be like the scene from Beauty and the Beast, despite me always wanting them to live up to that childhood expectation!
Check It Out. Experimental is definitely the right word to describe One Week in the Library. Comic readers looking only for the conventional might not find anything within its pages that entertains, but those looking for something a little strange and a little melancholy, something that reads more like a dream than a comic, should spend more than merely a week in the library.
One Week in the Library will be available on December 13th, 2016.