30 in 30 - Day 27: LoEG - Nemo: River of Ghosts / by Frank Gogol


It’s the final day of my Nemo Trilogy read through for 30 in 30 2017. Following up Heart of Ice and The Roses of Berlin is River of Ghosts, the final chapter of the LoEG spinoff starring Captain Nemo’s daughter, Janni. The story is a visual and narrative finale to the trilogy, with a fitting, if a bit cliched, ending.


Title: LoEG - Nemo: River of Ghosts
Storytellers: Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
Publisher: Top Shelf Comics
Year of Publication: 2015
Page Count: 56

In a world where all the fictions ever written coalesce into a rich mosaic, it’s 1975. Janni Dakkar, pirate queen of Lincoln Island and head of the fabled Nemo family, is eighty years old and beginning to display a tenuous grasp on reality. Pursuing shadows from her past — or her imagination — she embarks on what may be a final voyage down the vastness of the Amazon, a last attempt to put to rest the blood-drenched spectres of old. With allies and adversaries old and new, we accompany an aging predator on her obsessive trek into the cultural landscape of a strange new continent, from the ruined city of Yu-Atlanchi to the fabulous plateau of Maple White Land. As the dark threads in her narrative are drawn into an inescapable web, Captain Nemo leads her hearse-black Nautilus in a desperate raid on horrors believed dead for decades.


What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Writing

One my big takeaways from my Advance Comic Book Writing course with Comics Experience last month was that every character in a story should serve a narrative purpose. There should be no fat on a story, and River of Ghosts is a masterclass in this rule. Every character Moore adds, including background characters in some instances, is part of the storytelling machinery. A brief glimpse of the creatures from the Black Lagoon pays off in the climax. Janni’s grandson Jack is at the forefront of the story for reasons unknown until the denouement. Moore understands the value of narrative real estate and cuts away all of the unnecessary baggage from his story.

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Art

For Heart of Ice, I wrote about O’Neill’s use of two pages spreads and how he uses the left two-thirds of the pages for an image that’s got scope or that impresses upon the reader the importance of something. In this story, he uses two-page spreads to seed plot points and important narrative items. Two items come into play in the climax—pterodactyls and creatures from the Black Lagoon. Earlier in the story, both receive the two-page spread treatment in what simply look like cool images. But what O’Neill was really doing is impressing upon the reader that, though it doesn’t seem so at the time, these are important. Then, when they reenter the narrative in the climax, their visual priority in those spreads makes sense.

Recommendation: B (Worth a Read)

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