Daily Archives: June 21, 2009

The Degradation of Church and State

Project H original softcover graphic novel
Writer/Artist: Brandon Carstens
Publisher: Wonjoolaai Studios
Price: $16.95 US

Comics are an international medium, popular the world over, obviously. When one thinks of the medium in a global sense, though, the terms “American comics,” “Euro-comics” and manga come to mind readily. South Africa certainly doesn’t make that short list, so it was with interest that I delved into this graphic novel by South African creator Brandon Carstens. To my pleasure, I found that South African culture factored heavily into this murder mystery/conspiracy story. Even better was Carstens’s exploration of the notions of faith and secular thinking and how they affect the manner in which a society functions. He touches upon the conflict between nostalgia for simpler times and the undeniable power of new technologies have over the 21st-century consciousness. There’s no denying that Carstens’s ideas are challenging and engaging. Unfortunately, his storytelling skills distract from those ideas. There’s a lot of great potential to be found in this graphic novel, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. I suspect Carstens would be well-served by working an editor and polishing his line art.

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