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The Broadcast by Eric Hobbs & Noel Tuazon

1/12/2010. Contributed by Gareth D Jones

Buy The Broadcast in the USA - or Buy The Broadcast in the UK

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pub: Comics Lit/NBM Publishing. 180 page small enlarged paperback graphic novel. Price: GBP 9.99 (UK), $13.99 (US). ISBN: 978-1-56163-590-0.

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It’s a well-known tale that when Orson Welles broadcast his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ ‘The War Of The Worlds’, many Americans thought it was true and believed they were being invaded by Martians. The story is told again in ‘The Broadcast’ through the eyes of several characters in a small rural town, cut off by a storm, not knowing that the play has ended and the rest of the world knows it was only fiction.

We’re introduced to several characters over the opening pages, with snapshots of their lives that set up their relationships and situations in the day leading up to the broadcast. There’s a good variety of characters, with conflicts and resentments already showing, pointing to problems developing that would be worse than the aliens.

The artwork is black and white, with the characters often sketched rather than drawn in much detail. This doesn’t detract from the story for the most part – it’s interesting enough that the art supports it rather than detracts – but I sometimes found it hard to keep track of scene changes. Remember, I’m new to graphic novels, so maybe I missed some well-known clues but, as several of the characters did not look hugely different, I started several sections mistaking who was involved. There did not appear to be any clear indications for scene breaks and as the rural locations were similar I had to stop and backtrack a few times. By the time I was a quarter into the book, the characters were familiar enough for me to keep track. The other slight frustration for me was that there are no page numbers, which seemed odd.

‘People always show their true colours under pressure,’ says one of the characters, after violence begins to break out. This theme is borne out throughout this well-thought-out and developed story, as allegiances change, old tensions come to the surface and acts of heroism and desperation alter the lives of these ordinary farm folk.

I was captivated from the beginning, drawn in to the tension of the situation which was made more intense by my own knowledge that there were no Martians on the way. An excellent graphic novel, even if I do only have two others to compare it with.

Gareth D. Jones

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