Written by Chris X Ring; Directed by Jesse Heffring; art by Angus P Byers and Jesse Heffring; produced by Quietus Films.
I know what you are thinking… “Huh? A graphic novel called ‘P-Brane’? What is that, Vertigo or something?” To answer your question, no. P-Brane: The Green Man is a very unusual graphic novel published by Graviton Publishing. It was released in 2008 and is one of the most unique comics I’ve ever read.
The cover art of this book is just gorgeous! It expertly depicts a haunted-looking man stalking through a desolate post-apocalyptic metropolis. He’s brandishing some high-tech weapon and surrounded by rotting corpses and skeletal skyscrapers. The cover artist, Vitaly S. Alexius, really did a phenomenal job on this piece. Very intriguing.
Here is the synopsis of the story:
P-Brane: The Green Man, tells the story of Casey Blade, an amnesiac vigilante who wakes in the alleys of New York and embarks on a dream inspired killing spree. He begins to realize he is part of a vast apocalyptic conspiracy. The story is reminiscent of classic 50’s sci-fi with a technomodern kick presented in a noir-ish gritty style, using photos of real actors affected in Photoshop to look like illustrations.
When I first looked at this graphic novel, I couldn’t help but be impressed with the printing of the book itself. Given that I’ve never heard of this publishing company, I was surprised at how professionally put together the book was. Glossy pages, great printing resolution, and an overall slick book.
What makes this book stand out the most from other graphic novels is the interior art. Normally you’d expect drawings or painted images within the pages of a comic book graphic novel. Not with this one. All the art is taken from real photographs that have been digitally enhanced. Each panel is heavy with noir-like shadows and intricate detail. To compile this book it took over 5,000 images, 100 actors, and two years of art and layout. This art is so innovative that it begins to bridge the gap between the traditional comic book format and film making. Check out this 50 second video showing how they took two actors in front of a green screen and turned it into one panel of a comic book. Pretty amazing stuff! If you can’t see the embedded video below, click here.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of the story at first. There were questions right out of the gate about the protagonist. In the beginning the story felt like an amped-up spy thriller, but I knew with a cover like that it was going different places. Here is rare peek into the thought process of the Irredeemable Shag… on page 2 the protagonist drops the F-bomb… on page 5 the protagonist impales a guy through the head with a piece of pipe. What did I think about this? I WAS HOOKED!
I really liked that the story was broken into 28 small chapters. This made it much easier to digest the 221 page graphic novel, and also allowed for the writer to clearly segment the various story threads. The journey takes lots of twists and turns, never really answering all your questions until the end. The story also does a nice job touching on several different themes. For example, there are a couple chapters that focus on vigilante justice against child pornographers and a mob assassin. Next you follow the protagonist as he strikes against global terrorism. Then just to keep you off balance, there is an entire chapter with nothing but two guys talking in a cafe that is printed in landscape format (rather than portrait orientation).
About halfway through the book you get to the heart of the plot. The story transitions from a study of the mysterious protagonist into the human race’s battle for survival. Without spoiling too much, Earth is threatened because of its potential for disrupting the space-time manifold of the universe. The title ‘P-Brane’ comes from real scientific concepts based around M-Theory. In non-technical terms, M-theory presents an idea about the basic substance of the universe. I love a good story that incorporates real hard-science concepts!
After writing my review above, I went out on the inter-webs to see what others were saying. Here are a few quotes…
- “Like an episode of The Outer Limits etched into obsidian” – Montreal Gazette
- “It blurs the lines of what a comic book should be and what a comic book can be with a brilliant and refreshing story accompanied by a unique and distinctive look.” – Comic News Info
- “Its artwork is bold and innovative, and the book overall is a new step in “cinematic” storytelling, showing the world that the film industry can give back to the comics industry as well as mine from it.” – Wit War
Wow. Those guys are good with the words. Me… not so much. I’m not a master of flowery prose, but I will say that this graphic novel is a good read and beautiful to look at. The story definitely keeps you guessing and has some really interesting sci-fi concepts sprinkled throughout. Also, you can’t help but be amazed at the work and effort that went into producing this unique book. If you are interested in reading this story, you can order your copy at http://pbraneworld.com/.