Nelson is a 250-page collaboration between 54 of the UK’s most exciting comic creators. It is an unprecedented experiment to create one complete story – a collective graphic novel.
London, 1968. A daughter is born to Jim and Rita Baker. Her name is Nel. This is her story, told in yearly snapshots. Each chapter records the events of a single day, weaving one continuous ribbon of pictures and text that takes us on a 43- year journey from Nel Baker’s birth to 2011.
Based on an original idea by Rob Davis and co-edited by Davis and Woodrow Phoenix, Nelson celebrates the incredible diversity of talent in British comics today. Creators known for their editorial and national newspaper strips unite with those from humour comics such as the Beano, The Dandy, and MAD Magazine joining a wealth of talent from children’s books, indie publishing and webcomics, with the science fiction and superhero worlds of 2000AD, Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse.
Part exquisite corpse and part relay race, Nelson spans decades of British history and a myriad of stylistic approaches in telling the story of one woman’s life by 54 creators, in 54 episodes, detailing 54 days. The result is a surprising and compellingly readable book that is sad, funny, moving, poignant, ridiculous, heartfelt, and real. This is a story like none you have seen before.
I spotted and bought this one in my local bookshop some weeks back and while I knew nothing about it previously, I was completely fascinated by the concept and some of the artwork I spotted inside as I flicked though the pages.
A collaborative graphic novel with each artist/team taking one day in each year of our main character’s life from birth to present day. Most importantly Nelson is a fantastic character and strong enough for her personality to shine though (and most importantly be consistent) throughout the 50+ different interpretations as each artist tells their part of the story.
As you can imagine because we only meet Nel for a day at a time, and that it’s partly a game of exquisite corpse - (with the contributors somewhat free to send Nel’s life off on a tangent or introduce something for the next person to deal with) lots of things happen ‘off-page’ yet the story still feels natural and organic, and its pretty easy to fill in the gaps. A sign the something is being done right, if ever there was one.
And the artwork as you can see, is gorgeous, each artist has something different to offer and I honestly can’t remember any of the ‘episodes’ letting the side down. Nelson was born in 1968 (5 years before me, you can do the maths yourself!) so for many of the background events I’ve lived through as well (although at a different point in life!) So this and some of the details in the artwork, brought back a nice sense of nostalgia at times.
So pleased I picked this one up. Highly recommended.
[xrrgroup][xrr label="Characters:" rating="5.5/6" group="s1" ] [xrr label="Plot:" rating="5/6" group="s1"] [xrr label="Writing:" rating="5/6" group="s1"] [xrr label="Artwork:" rating="6/6" group="s1"] [xrr label="Just One More Page:" rating="5/6" group="s1"] [xrr label="Overall:" overall=true group="s1" ][/xrrgroup]