Monday, February 18, 2013

The Second Time You Die Is When Someone Says Your Name For The Last Time: A Review of "Who On Earth was Thaddeus Mist?"

It's been quite some time since I reviewed something for the blog, but every once in a while a story comes along that demands such attention and Who on Earth Was Thaddeus Mist is one such work of art. Coming from "acclaimed picture book publishers of Her Majesties' Empire" (Accent UK,) and featuring work from over a dozen independent comic creators, Thaddeus Mist is one of those rare graphic novel anthologies that transcends it's individual parts to tell a completely beautiful story; and that is saying something once you know how good each part is.

As one could probably guess from the title, the plot revolves around discovering just who the recently deceased Thaddeus Mist really was. Taking up this task is his widow who listens to stories about her husband from the various mourners at his funeral, each presenting her with a different version of the man she thought she knew. While that sounds like a relatively simple premise, the bewitching style and pace in which it is presented puts most other anthologies to shame. Not only is each individual entry in this Citizen Kane-esque yarn grand in their own right they fit together perfectly, furthering the narrative and central thematic question of the book; Can one really know ALL of someone? The changing styles for the various chapters, such as the more jovial and juvenile segment of Mist as a child narrated by his former nanny or the lyrical and lustful portion relayed by his mistress, each dissipate a bit of the mist-ery surrounding Thaddeus' life but at the same time are careful to not assemble the whole puzzle for the reader.

It's been quite a while since a anthology grabbed my attention from the first page and managed to keep it so fully through out the entire book. Add together with the fantastic design of the book and you have one graphic novel that I am glad will be gracing my shelf for years to come (well, when I'm not borrowing it around that is.) As Stuntman Mike would say "This one's ok in my book," and I give it the radiant score of 5 out of 5 stars. If you still need a bit of incentive to check it out below is a trailer put together by the book's creators, and if you're ready to purchase well head over to the Accent UK digital shop located here.