An inquisitive robot and his friend embark on a wonderful journey of self-discovery perfect for kids and adults alike.
Known for his longrunning Massive Pwnage, cartoonist and illustrator Jon Nielsen has been producing webcomics for quite some time now. His latest long-form work is Look, published by NBM Graphic Novels last month. Look is a wonderful all-ages comic chronicling the journey of self-discovery of a resourceful little droid called Artie, who is desperate to add meaning to his endless wandering.
Set in a world, where droids rule the day, Look follows Artie as he abandons his vague programming and embarks on a quest to redefine his identity. Accompanied by a good-natured vulture named Owen, Artie encounters single-minded robots determined to fix his malfunctioning software and effectively erase his burgeoning individuality.
His quest takes him across bleak deserts, through perilous mountain passes, and forbidding cityscapes. Along the way, he learns the nature of true friendship, fighting to retain his newborn sense of self against a strictly enforced operating system policed by both unquestioning robot minions and their soulless human masters.
The plot is straightforward yet engaging and moves along at a good clip. It was easy to envision parents and their kids following Artie’s misadventures together. Not one to condescend to either party, Nielsen’s script explores the nature of friendship and self-worth with heartfelt directness and craft.
Nielsen’s cartooning is of the deceptively simple variety, hiding beneath its quirky veneer a high level of artistry. His visual storytelling is clear and concise, uncluttered by an over-reliance on artifice or unnecessary exaggeration. His style is easily accessible and appeals to both young and old alike.
A refreshingly simple tale about one robot’s coming of age, Look is a true all-ages book that doesn’t value one demographic over another. This is a quality that sets it apart from other so-called all-ages books that seem to lack its balanced approach and refusal to condescend to younger readers. Highly recommended.
Jon Nielsen (W/A) • NBM Graphic Novels, $15.99