Louis: Dreams Never Die
Metaphrog, 2004 (2004)
Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton
dvertised for all ages,
might seem a child's book which adults would overlook, but within the pages of this dark, humorous graphic novel are themes that make it much more for adults than children. This is one of a series of graphic novels that feature Louis, a young boy who lives in Hamlet, a government controlled city where all the houses and yards are exact replicas of each other. In this dull atmosphere, Louis seems completely unaware that he is constantly being watched and monitored.
ne of Louis' usual activities is writing letters to his dear Aunt Alison. However, this kind aunt never visits because she doesn't exist. Louis' mail is intercepted by malicious
who believe that he is scheming with underground resistance. They often read his letters and write a response, in the hope of fouling his plans or catching rebels. Simplistic in his manner, Louis remains content with daydreaming and playing with his bird-like creature, FC or
. A lot happens in the backdrop of these stories and the depth to which one reads will yield different results. To some degree though, the reader can feel lost and wonder what they are missing. This comes from a lack of exposition on the writer's behalf, with only loose hints about Louis' past adventures.
he art throughout remains bright, and colorful. Louis, himself, is both adorable and odd in his appearance. Wearing a red jumpsuit of sorts, his rounded body complements his tilted oval hairless head. In fact, Louis' face has few specifics: two dots for eyes, a mere 'o' for a nose (an exaggerated 'c' when character is in profile), and a small arc for a mouth. His largest facial feature lies in his chin-to-neckline. But even with this face, the artist manages to display a significant range of emotion, while backgrounds often provide more artistic detail than characters.
ouis: Dreams Never Die
includes a CD-ROM of music, written by Hey and Múm. The music in many ways fits the tone and mood of the stories. This series is not for everyone - though plot exists, it often seems loosely knitted with the commentary and symbolism carrying the crux of the piece. But the art makes the trip enjoyable. Just flipping through the pages can produce a smile or at least some decent visual stimulation.
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