[Note “Future Comic” is the category we assign to comics that use interactive elements to tell stories. Here is one such comic.]
It’s been a while since we had a good “future comic” to talk about, as they’ve become way too expensive for the casual creator to produce, but here’s one that is beautiful, inventive AND moving. The Boat adapts the internationally acclaimed Dylan Thomas Award-winning story by Nam Le about Vietnamese resettlement in Australia following the fall of Saigon in 1975. It was commissioned by Australian network SBS and their interactive unit has created a scrolling graphic novel that uses limited animation, archival footage, text, gorgeous hand drawn art by Matt Huynh and sound design by Sam Petty (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) to tell this story.
Both Le and Huynh are connected to the story of 16-year-old Mai, who is sent alone in a boat to what her parents hope will be a welcoming new home. Le’s family was part of the diaspora and Huynh’s family left Saigon a few years after the fall.
said: “The Boat is the most urgent and immediate comic I’ve ever made – a work of a kind I’ve never quite seen before and a unique chance to engage an issue so entangled with my own life. It’s a work that deals not in metaphor or analogy, not exclusively fiction or history and impossible to segment artist from subject. This resulting work is proof of my life, luck, of a country’s compassion for people in the most vulnerable of circumstances over 40 years ago and our urgent, unavoidable connection to today’s asylum seekers and refugees.”
Le said: “An astounding and original piece of work: Matt Huynh and the team at SBS have taken a short story and shifted it into another register. The result is strange and powerful; more importantly, it opens up new ground. I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
As I’ve mentioned, making a project like this is not cheap, so props to SBS for having the resources to make something that tells an important story in a new and moving way.
And here’s a video on the making of the comic:
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.