Se7en

January 15, 2008

Se7en (graphic novel)

Se7en, by various.

A graphic novel partial adaptation of the film Se7en, written entirely from the point of view of the serial killer himself, John Doe.

If you enjoyed the film, this is indispensable. If you’ve not seen the film, this is equally indispensable. If you’re a fan of surreal, grotesque art and the insane stream-of-consciousness looping nightmare of the imagined thoughts of one of the most disturbing serial killer archetypes of our time, this is… wait for it… indispensable.

The authors and artists have expanded on the film to weave the thought processes, motivations and background of John Doe into a chilling seven-part descent into utter depravity that simultaneously mirrors and, in some ways, eclipses the source material. They’re helped considerably by access to some elements from the film — notably some grotesquery photographs included collage-fashion, some of which are genuinely hard to look at, and batteries of images created but not necessarily used or only glimpsed in the film itself (witness the 52 Polaroid pictures of the ‘Sloth’ victim showing his descent into the pitiable monster found in the bed by the detectives: they were all created, and many appear within, gruesomely uncensored).

It’s a trepanation of a read: a visual feast of nightmare and monstrosity that sinks into your head like acid and both changes and augments your perceptions of the original film with brutal indelibility. Reading pages ‘culled’ from Doe’s endless exercise books interspersed throughout highlights the kaleidoscopic aura of horror and dementia that, combined with some of the imagery, can make you literally worried to turn the next page.

I’d call it almost perfect. The purist in me didn’t like a few pages of the art, with it ranging through the various artists credited from sublime and queasily photorealistic through to a thankfully few pages of appalling Sienkiewicz-styled knife-scrapings-on-paint-blotches (I’m not a fan of Bill Sienkiewicz’s art in any medium, though others find him groundbreaking; but certainly I feel it doesn’t really have much of a place in Se7en); occasionally the ramblings of a fictive killer’s mind became too obscure to serve the story’s purposes. But they’re very minor quibbles, and even with them I’m still repeating that word: indispensable.

Pick it up and prepare to be harrowed. You’ll never look at comic art the same way again. 

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2 Responses to “Se7en”

  1. Camilla Says:

    It’s a trepanation of a read: a visual feast of nightmare and monstrosity that sinks into your head like acid and both changes and augments your perceptions of the original film with brutal indelibility.

    I’m not sure whether this makes me want to read it or run away 😀 😀 😀

    Read it, I think.

  2. sarcade Says:

    Read it, definitely.

    (I’m glad you are reading my little review site occasionally 😀 )


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