I have read several silent issues in my time, but none that have presented so much emotion as It’s Not About That. The author’s description of this story while accurate doesn’t do the story justice at all. It could also be that because it’s a silent issue with no written narrative or dialog, that I was able to interrupt the story in my own way. Keep that in mind while reading the review, though I doubt that any interpretation of the story is really wrong. The story follows a service robot that is approaching his retirement. He sits in his quarters watching TV and ironically enough he’s watching a commercial for the new model of service robot. He notices something hanging off of his hand and sure enough it’s a part of him. He’s angered by this at first, but then quickly becomes sad. How much of him has fallen off into this couch without him noticing? He decides to check and what he finds makes him even sadder as there are several parts and tiny pieces.
The next day he wakes up and makes the family breakfast and receives a cold reception from the entire family. Instead of being thanked he’s handed a list of chores to take care of. While watering the lawn he begins talking to the neighbor’s service robot. It’s basically the same model, but a bit bigger. They’re both closing in on retirement with the neighbor’s robot only has half the time he does.
The next day we find father and son in the back yard. The father is forcing his son to learn how to swim, but offering no guidance on how to actually do it. The robot comes out to deliver a drink to him and it’s batted out of his hand as the father storms into the house leaving a wet pathetic son lying by the pool. The robot offers his sympathy to the son in the form of a smile, but the kid storms past him with an angry look on his face which crushes the robot.
One day while winding the house’s energy system the robot loses his right hand when it gets caught in the gears. He awakes to find his hand gone and that the family has already bought a new service robot.
I had to take you about half way through the story so that I could present you with the conflict of the story. The thing is, you’ll never see what’s coming next. Also as much as I’ve covered there is plenty that I’m leaving out. It’s an incredible journey that is all building towards the final act of the story.
The writing is terrific. It takes a lot of talent and trust for a writer to make a silent issue. Here’s the kicker, this comic is from Poland. The concept and emotion is relatable for everyone and that takes a ton of skill. If you were to put this on the North American market, no one would know that it was from across the pond.
I really want to talk about the art since it does a lot of the work for the story. The look for the book is clean and crisp. The colors are vibrant and the shadowing is minimal, which helps everything pop off the page. The visual storytelling is incredible and obviously has to be since it’s silent. The robot has a huge range of emotion, probably more so than his human counterparts. The thing is, by the end of the story they’ve almost switched places; the humans being overly emotional and the robot being cold and angry. The coloring is great for the entire issue. The color scheme is very abstract in many ways, but it works with the story and gives it a futuristic look without hitting you in the face with it.
It’s a quick read and I’ve already gone through it twice with a third reading in the near future. Comics can be very powerful and It’s Not About That is a great example of the raw emotion that can come from them. If you’re looking for something very unique and basically something that can only be experienced in a comic book, then check this graphic novel out.
Creators: Piotr Nowacki and Bartosz Sztybor
Price: $10.00 (rough conversion)