Sins of the Past
I stumbled across this one at one of the Libraries I frequent. Well, not literally stumbled, but it was a chance encounter either way. Basically, it was the cover that intrigued me. And then it was looking into the history of the graphic novel in question that now even more questions have arisen. But really, we are going to talk about the comic and worry about other stuff another time.
Turns out that Dark Horse Comics have been bringing some European comics to the United States market. This particular one is titled Station 16 by Herman (Hubben) and Yves H. (Hubben) (listed like that because they use their first names as their identifiers). They are a father son time where Herman is the illustrator and Yves H. is the author of the stories. They are based in Belgium and Herman has been illustrating comics since the mid ‘60s and is still active today.<style=”text-align: center;”>
Okay, enough of the behind the scenes stuff. You want to know more, do some digging. They have some interesting stuff to explore outside of just this particular comic.
Anyway, a quick look into the story. The story starts of in 1997 Russia. A radio message from what should have been a deserted base results in a squad of soldiers being airlifted to the base to investigate. Sounds relatively simple and what not but the whole thing would be boring if nothing happened right…
That’s where this one takes an interesting turn. The story itself is based on an unexplained bit of time travel where the soldiers bounce around in time at this deserted base. A mystery is born to find who sent the message and figure out how they can escape with their lives.
The story is a dark fantasy thriller that answers a number of the questions through the course of the story. Of course, there are new questions raised at the same time. It wouldn’t be fun if there weren’t. But I digress…
This isn’t a story that I want to dip too far into the story line because it really is that good. It is one you should read and savor on your own.
The art has a rough, and dark feel to it that adds to the nature of the story itself. This works out well because the art does the heavy lifting for mood and setting. Most of the written portions of the story are used up with dialogue between the characters. It is a perfect marriage between dialogue and visual exposition to where you need both to have the full picture of what is going on.
One of the aspects of the main story is the time traveling the characters do within the station. The art takes over to display the various phenomena that signifies the transitions. Like I said, there is very little exposition to clue the reader in to the changes, it all comes to the visual clues. Which is one of the things that makes this story special. This connection between dialogue and the visual landscape really draws the reader into the story. Considering there are some moments within the story that push the boundaries for horror, the reader is given some moments where dread comes a calling.
This story could be viewed in some ways as a relic of the cold war, or at least a number of our fears of what went on during the cold war. Nuclear testing and human experimentation are tropes of the time that powered a number of our science fiction and horror movies and stories.
And this is where the real magic of the story comes into play. The story itself plays on our fears and touches the various conspiracy theories that many of us have heard throughout our lives. It is a connection to the common ground of our beliefs that the governments that are there to take care of us and protect us from the evils of the world, could very well be the source of the corruption and evil that we are so afraid of.
The question that pops into our minds whether at the forefront or not, is, what is it our government is doing that we don’t hear about? What kind of experiments are they doing to people in the society that we don’t see, can’t see, and would be terrified to find out about in the first place? These are fears and paranoias that fuel our darkest imaginings. Of course, we always call the people who swear by these fears crazy. But it all comes back to those questions we don’t want to ask, and don’t want to confirm.
In the end, I thought this was a great story and the methods used to bring the story to life for the reader enhanced the experience. If you happen to find it (it is available on Amazon) I recommend picking up a copy.
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