I saw Joon-Ho Bong’s film Snowpiercer last summer and immediately thereafter purchased the graphic novel it was based on. Before I got around to reading it, a friend borrowed a stack of books and graphic novels and it was in the stack. Yesterday the stack came back home to roost and I pulled out 1:the Escape. As much as I admired and enjoyed the film, it was it’s own animal and I am glad that so much time transpired so I could see the GN in a clearer light.
The Snowpiercer is a train one thousand and one carriages long and it never stops. After some kind of cataclysm has rendered the earth a frozen wasteland. Snowpiercer was originally built as a pleasure train, set up to run for 20 days without stopping, being completely self-sufficient. When the disaster happened, the last of humanity crowded on board and the train has been running ever since.
We start near the end of the train, a man named Proloff has escaped the ghetto of the tail end of the train and has made it a few cars ahead. This starts off a skirmish and a bit of a military and political problem. While the powers that be decide what is to be done, Adeline, a representative of a humanitarian organization (though organization is a too grand of a title) tries to intercede on his behalf. Thus begins Proloff and Adeline’s journey to the front of the train; Saint Loco (or Olga, if you will).
The story is quite different from the film and a masterpiece in it’s own right. I am not convinced that humanity deserved to survive if this is what we come to. Bleak and harsh, the black and white artwork has so much nuance and shadow. Because the world is a frozen wasteland outside, the blinding white and inky black art has such an impact. I’ll need to jump right in to 2: The Escape. Can’t wait to see where it goes.