Advance Review: ONE WEEK IN THE LIBRARY

oneweekinthelibrary-cover

ONE WEEK IN THE LIBRARY
Written by W. Maxwell Prince
Art by John Amor, Kathryn Layno, Tom Muller, Ashley Walker
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: December 7, 2016

I’m honestly not sure where to start talking about One Week In The Library, as it is an utterly unique reading experience. Broken into singular day adventures, spending one week in this library is an amazing OGN experience.

When I saw the concept of One Week In The Library, I expected something akin to Night At The Museum, with a man attempting to survive a week in some kind of bizarre library. While there is a bit of that at the core of the story, One Week In The Library is so much more. It is an artful expression of the medium that is comics and a trippy look at the concept of stories and literature.

With One Week In the Library, W. Maxwell Prince dives into a library that is unlike anything I’ve seen in stories before, telling the tale of a librarian and what he goes through each day of the week. His very existence is an intriguing plot line and the way Prince builds this overarching story through the days is excellent. He does a great job integrating popular stories and tales into One Week In The Library, putting a different spin on literature and fantasy in a similar vein of how Unwritten and Fables turned some stories on their ears. This is a completely different beast, but what it brings to the table in the sense of originality reminded me of those franchises.

Prince utilizes the medium well, combining infographics and traditional comic book storytelling in an intriguing way. I read this entire OGN in a single sitting and it just works, every little bit of what he tries flies, even his unorthodox ending. He’s so blunt with it, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. This is the kind of project that challenges preconceptions about storytelling and the medium and I really appreciate how Prince went for it. There is a prose section that contains a story that is dramatically different than the rest of the graphic novel, but the dramatic shift in content, tone and style adds to the eccentricity of this comic. The content of the prose section was jarring and I can’t say I enjoyed it, per se, but I don’t believe enjoyment was the point. This section felt like part of Prince’s larger examination & challenging of storytelling with mixed mediums, and the madness of this library he has built.

John Amor’s pencil work is sharp, and he has a lot of challenges in this OGN that he handles with apparent ease. The tone set by his pencils and Kathryn Layno’s colour work matches the tone set with Prince’s words perfectly, a synergy that exists throughout the entirety of this OGN. Amor’s pencil work is evocative, his pencils capturing the classic tone of many great works of literature. Stories and characters are easily recognizable, but Amor twists them enough that you know you are not reading in the lands of Disney or anywhere you’ve been before. This makes One Week It The Library feel classic, timeless and completely new.

Ashley Walker’s design work for the charts that appear throughout the book bring an interesting aesthetic to this story. The charts convey a lot of information and they juxtapose the artwork by Amor and Layno very well.

One Week In The Library is a unique work that needs to be experienced. This OGN is worth your time for 10 bucks, and I really liked where Prince, Amor and Layno went with this. I love it when something goes unexpected directions and challenges the medium and how design elements can enhance and enrich “traditional” comic book storytelling.

The Verdict: 10/10

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