Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finder: Voice

Regardless of the reasons why, science fiction of late has had its share of dystopian future stories (also check out this graphic). This entry in the genre is from the Eisner Award Winning series Finder. The series takes place in Anvard, a domed city where a complex clan structure exists. Citizens strive to belong to clans, because such membership brings social status and also a measure of security. Being a "cull" makes life much more difficult and uncertain. This stand-alone volume follows Rachel Grosvenor, a young woman who was born to parents of different clans. Her drive to belong to the Llaverac clan, which is devoted to physical beauty and all the members are virtually indistinguishable, becomes derailed when a family heirloom is lost. In desperation, she turns for help from a Finder named Jaeger. The problem is complicated further by the fact that Finders can never reveal where they are located.

Voice is the product of Carla Speed McNeil,a Lulu, Ignatz, and Eisner Award winning cartoonist. She has been publishing Finder comics since 1996 and began the webcomic version in 2005. She has also illustrated a few other series, such as a run on Queen & Country, and is editor-in-chief of Saucy Goose Press. She speaks about her work and career in this interview with Washington City Paper.

Voice has won the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the Graphic Novel category and has been generally well received. Yogikai praised the book, "This is an amazing volume and really makes me want to read the entire series." The Comics Journal's Shaenon Garrity wrote that this book is one of those that builds such a personal connection that causes the reader to think "this comic was made just for me." Steve Bennett added, "Once again McNeil immerses you in her meticulously detailed world and you’re immediately caught up in a beautifully drawn and deftly written story."

It should be stated that although this volume is only a small part of a larger series, it is a great stand-alone story. I had no familiarity with the series, and I was not lost at all. McNeil even provides voluminous footnotes in the end of the book to dispel any confusions new readers may have. Additionally, knowing there are other volumes to peruse will be attractive to those who enjoy the book. Lastly, I should also say there is some course language and slight nudity, so this is a book probably more suited to more mature readers.

The book's publisher Dark Horse provides a preview here.

More information about the stories, characters, and world of Finder comics can be found at this website.

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