Review: The Spectators

The Spectators is a brand new graphic novel by Victor Hussenot.

A spectacular example of how powerful and thought-provoking a graphic novel can be, the book transforms from a  journey through Paris into an introspective narration on the nature of mankind.

Arriving at a new station is as exciting as drawing a card in a poker game. A new platform appears… it’s a new deal of the cards…Some leave the game; oth- ers join it… but not always the ones you’re expecting. Each is full of promise, but is the one we really need hidden in the deck?

Born in Paris, Victor Hussenot studied graphic design at the École Nationale Supérieure de Nancy. Victor signed his first book deal during his final year on the course, having already be nominated twice for the Young Talent Award at Angouleme.

In 2011, he published La Casa, his first of three graphic novels for adults and in 2014 he illustrated a French children’s book Au Pays des Lignes (In the Land of the Lines) with Geneva- based publisher La Joie de Lire.

In The Spectators, Victor plays with standard comics structure to create a bold and poetic graphic novel, awash with subtle colours, unique textures and organic shapes. The book’s main character is an ever-changing being who switches aesthetic between anecdotes, piecing together individual insights to create a  fluid narrative and adding to the tone of mystery and wonder.

Measured against our lifetimes, the stuff of cities seems fixed and eternal… But being built by man, it too- like him- will perish in the end. Measured against our lifetimes, all matter- whether living or inert-is a mirror.

The Spectators is Victor’s first graphic novel with Nobrow press. Well known as leaders in their field, Nobrow never fail to pull out all the stops, turning books into collectable art objects. Most remarkable about this book’s design is the silver-foil detailing on its cover and spine, allowing the reader to catch their own reflection in the eye of the spectator.

When creating The Spectators, Victor set himself a mammoth challenge, not only basing it around a city as iconic as Paris but also opening it up to comment of the entirety of mankind. Thanks to his gift for philosophical phrasing and ability to create poetic, surreal imagery, the resulting novel is a truly transcendent work of art.

To celebrate the release of The Spectators, we are teaming up with Nobrow to give away 3 copies! Head over to our Facebook page to enter the competition.        


Posted on Jun 3rd, 15 by

Greg McIndoe - also known as Headless Greg - is an illustrator and design writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. He regularly writes for design magazines and online platforms, interviewing fellow illustrators and leading creatives.

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