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30 October 2015

Snowpiercer (1984)

I'm falling out of the habit of posting on this blog. Let's do something about this right now. At first sight, this is a review of the Snowpiercer graphic novel by Lob Rochette. On closer inspection, it is simply the ramblings of a tortured soul...


I bought the graphic novel and film both at the same time. It turned out that I got to the film first sometime in the summer. I picked up the comic this week and had it read in a couple of nights. The comic was originally published as "Transperceneige" in 1984, but the edition pictured is from June 2014. And I see now that there is a typo in the comic where it tells me this. Good job these sorts of things don't bother me these days.  


I'm going to jump about a bit...

I talked previously about wanting to produce an Italian edition of my Skylark Comic. Well, I only went ahead and did it! I was lucky enough to enlist the help of a very talented man by the name of +giacomo bencist√† who expertly turned my rambling prose into something that hopefully makes sense to my Italian brothers and sisters. Thank you Giacomo! I really did write a lot of words in this comic. If this is a success then I may produce a Spanish edition too. Let me know if this is something that any of you would be interested in reading.

It was only when I came to publish the edizione italiana that I discovered that I can't get it into the usual channels. I've only ever published through Lulu and although they've listed it, none of the American-owned distribution channels will touch it. I'm guessing that it's because they like to check content and they obviously don't feel capable of checking non-english work. What a lot of rubbish!

If you're interested in reading the Italian edition then the only place you're going to find it is on Lulu.

I mention my Italian Edition of Skylark as a sort of segue into explaining that Snowpiercer was originally a French graphic novel and that I was reading the English version of it. I don't know about you, but I love the idea of reading books written in other tongues. The translations can be quite other-worldly and provocative. I remember being captivated when I first read Pierre Boulle's "Monkey Planet", as the title was first translated. Of course, I'm referring to Planet of the Apes, but there you can see my point: a clever translation can make or break a book.

Snowpiercer's script doesn't disappoint; Given it's age, the dialogue feels current and modern.


The artwork is right up my street. What you get in Snowpiercer is a largely black and white affair with minimal greyscale "colouring".

I'm reminded of a style along the lines of something that Massimo Belardinelli or Alberto Breccia might have produced. It's accomplished without being overly dramatic. There is a confident, understated feel to the book which I really like.


Snowpiercer is a classic piece of apocalyptic writing leaning of many ideas that you would expect of a work of this type. I'll point out here that I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the plots of the book and film are significantly different. I prefer the book. It has a more traditional feel to it. The ending is far better. The film does provide more of an insight into the bleakness of life for some of those living on the train.

Oh, hold on... I haven't explained what the story is about. I won't spoil this for you. Following catastrophe, all that remains of the human race now lives on a train, endlessly circling the globe. It's a strange premise, but one that just works in Lob Rochette's expert hands.

There are no spoilers here, but food plays a big part of the film and so too in the comic. I was reminded of Soylent Green, but not for the reasons you might be thinking.


Guess what I experienced today?



I'm losing the plot here. I'll end with a picture from another book I read about a month ago about Johnny Cash. This picture grabbed me. It's from somewhere towards the end.

And this might in itself be the end...


There you have it. I see that there is a volume 2 in the Snowpiercer story. I should pick it up ;-)



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