Richard McGuire

Here – Richard McGuire

Cover Here - Richard McguireEach double-page spread of this exceptional graphic novel is a drawing of the same corner of the same room in the same house. The first tableau is 1957, the second 1942 and all that has changed is the decor. You realise you are going to be standing on the same spot throughout. but be moved through time.  Several parallel stories develop in the different time periods.   And the most striking part of the project is that more than one of these time periods can be present in one image.  In the fourth image a woman is in the 1957 room, but in small box at the bottom of the right hand page, a cat from 1999 is walking through. The house you are in was built in 1907, so any date before that the house is not there, but you are on the same spot.  The furthest back McGuire takes is 3,000,000,000 BCE and towards the end we reach 2314 CE. Stories of colonial times as families are split between supporting the British and supporting the revolution are mixed with stories of the native communities that lived in the space, of the animals and the plants, particularly the trees that grew on this spot, and although the present is ever-changing, the strong sense is of the past leaking into a family saga in the 20th and 21st centuries.   However, there is a larger narrative of humans living on an ever-changing planet, and as we cause these changes, we live remarkably different lives.  By locking geography, McGuire tell his story with little dialogue, but strking colour-soaked drawings.  part of what draws me to graphic novels is the way the visual element can be varied to dramatically change the emotional impact of the story.  McGuire has created a work of art as significant in visual literary culture as Maus or the first Superman comic, or even the original cave paintings, and in a way the link to cave paintings is the most apt, as we are in a modern cave being shown the life beyond our safe haven.

The Guardian Review with several spreads from the book