The Line it is Drawn Comic Book Reviews: The 36 Original Graphic Novel
The talented men and women who draw The Line it is Drawn every week often work on comic book projects, as well. Today, I’ll be reviewing four of them (two in the morning and two in the late afternoon)., I’ll be reviewing four of them. We continue with George Zapata and The 36. -BC
The 36 is a graphic novel written by Kristopher White with art from George Zapata (Pencils and inks) and Micki Zurcher.
This quick description of the 36 comes from writer White:
The 36 is a graphic novel based on the Kabbalistic belief that there are 36 people in the world upon whom it is saved by their simple existence. In times of need, these people emerge from anonymity and save us, then fade back into their lives.
Noam, our hero, is one of those people. Armed with the fabled staff of Moses (used to split the Red Sea), Noam would love nothing more than to fade into anonymity; he just doesn’t know what he has to do to finish his duty as one of the 36.
In this graphic novel, White plays with the power of anonymity well. The key drama of the book revolves around a character kept anonymous, while the heroes of the book are a woman living an anonymous life and a man who wishes he could live an anonymous life. These three characters give us the best drama of this engaging graphic novel, with striking artwork from Zapata and Zurcher.
Here are the first few pages of the story…
White is working off a neat hook, with the idea that there are 36 people on Earth, all with a different power. Some will use them for good, some for evil, some for neither and it is up to Noam to protect them all as best as he can.
As you can tell from the above pages, the initial threat in the story is that of a golem. The chapters of the book are set up so that they could stand alone as issues (so this could be a five-issue mini-series, in effect) and White does a really nice job of having the first two chapters tell a somewhat complete story while still completely fitting with the overall narrative of the work.
White’s take on the golem, by the way, is very clever. Think about it as a sort of take off on Asimov’s laws for robots. Golems work under similar principles and here we see a golem who longs for death and will do anything to achieve it, even create his/its OWN golems! Clever stuff.
Zapata has a keen eye for characterization, while keeping his characters loose and not photo-realistic or anything like that. In addition, Zapata’s starts strong and gets better as the story goes along. Each chapter is better than the previous one. It is a great sight to see. Meanwhile, Zurcher makes bold choices with the colors on the book and I think that her ideas really pay off. She gives the book a really distinctive feel with her powerful colors.
The two main characters in the book are the ones you met on the above pages. Noam, the unassuming man who has to protect the 36 and Lenore, the woman who discovers that she IS one of the 36. Noam has a brother who helps him with his missions and the off-kilter love triangle between the three is one of the highlights of the book. Noam can’t even think of Lenore that way because of his wife, who is in a mysterious coma. His wife and her coma play a major role in the book, as it turns out her coma is to help control something that some bad forces are trying to let loose on the world. Can Noam stop it without destroying his own wife? Can Lenore find her inner hero? Will Noam let himself live a little?
These are all great questions that find answers in this graphic novel. It is well worth picking up.
You can purchase it for $19 at the website for the book here, at the36.net (just click on print editions). While there, you can read the ENTIRE first chapter for free! How can you beat that? The answer is…you can’t! There are also digital options if that is how you prefer getting your new comic books.
If you want to check out George Zapata’s Line it is Drawn work, he was one of the original artists on the feature, doing regular work until installment #69. Check out the archive here to see George’s fine work.