Written by Rachel Hope Allison
Art by Rachel Hope Allison
Release Date: April 25, 2012

I’m Not a Plastic Bag is a graphic novel unlike any other for many reasons. Firstly, it deals with a subject I’m not sure has ever been discussed in comics prior to now, environmentalism. Secondly, it is a completely “silent” graphic novel in that there is no dialogue in the entire book. Thirdly, it is a “green” graphic novel: two trees will be planted for every single tree used in the publication of the book. Lastly, it is masterfully crafted by a gifted artist and storyteller.

I’m Not a Plastic Bag focuses on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive island of garbage that has accumulated in the Northern Pacific Ocean. Allison takes readers on a journey of a single plastic bag and the gradual formation of this oceanic dump and, eventually, it’s final fate. Allison tells this tale masterfully and skilfully chose to remove dialogue from the equation in this book. It simply isn’t needed to tell this story. In fact, it would do nothing but muddy the waters of a crisp and elegant tale. As elegant as it is, this book is not what it may seem. It is not a ‘preachy’ environmental commentary, ramming the sins of man down the readers throat, but rather a simple exploration of something that has occurred through a whimsical eye. This is a fantastical investigation of a real world problem and Allison’s method of discussion is wonderfully unique. The humanization of the Garbage Patch, or Patchy as it came to be known in my mind, had me actually rooting for the hunk of trash at points, something that I never expect to feel from this book.

I will admit that the first time I read through I’m Not A Plastic Bag I did so very quickly. I read a lot of comics and have gotten into a habit over the years of extremely fast panel reading when there is no dialogue. For first time readers of this OGN, I have to recommend taking your sweet time, or at least give yourself a couple days and then have a second read through. The detail in the panels is absolutely fantastic and this hardcover is filled with tons of subtle nuances and pieces of the story that I simply missed the first time around. It is a unique treasure in the comic book world and I commend Rachel Hope Allison, Archaia Entertainment and Jeff Corwin Connects for making it happen.

Verdict: 9.0/10


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