Adapted from the short film of the same name, the four-volume miniseries BOAT by David Lumsden is incredibly captivating. Set on a flooded and post-apocalyptic earth, we meet a boy and his father. Armed only with their boat, they are just trying to survive this world. Charlie – forced to live in this harsh, unforgiving world of water – is our main character. The narrative jumps forward and backwards; in the first two volumes, we explore Charlie’s past and his present.
The art of BOAT Vol. 1 – done by Mark Weallans – is simply amazing in how it perfectly complements the world and story. The style is almost sketch-like, as if done in pencil. And yet still, there are no shortages of details and dark shading; it uses blacks and greys to convey the dreariness of the flooded and ruined cities the characters pass through. All these things come together to create the specific vibe of an empty and dark world. The tone is gloomy, using the constant blend of melancholy and tension that permeates the pages of BOAT. From the empty and desolate landscapes, to the panels upon panels of building suspense; you can never be quite sure how alone the characters are in this broken and dangerous world.
On the other hand, Marc Olivent takes over the art for Vol. 2. However, this doesn’t reduce the graphic novel’s quality by any means. As a matter of fact, he adds something different to the overall story. For instance, his art is darker and more angular. As a result, the images come across as hard-edged and something more mature. It’s as if the art is growing up alongside the aging protagonist. That is to say, the changing style reflects how Charlie sees the world change as well. It’s harsh; the lines sharpen and the shadows darken.
I really appreciate the way BOAT handles internal dialogue. It deviates from the traditional method of having a character’s thoughts be full and complete sentences. BOAT instead depicts these closer to how one might think in real life, such as sentence fragments, quick and snappy observations, and brief reminders that the protagonist gives to himself. It really makes you feel like you’re inside his head within moments of tension. Fairly light on exposition, BOAT lets the reader take in the changes and rules of this world for themselves. Therefore, everything revealed comes bit by bit in a slow burn manner. As a result, the readthrough is entertaining and suspenseful.
Vol. 2 focuses on the remnants of Scotland – now renamed “No Land”. And so, we get a glimpse into life for those outside of our principle characters. This helps in building the world of BOAT. The remnants of society that exists within this world are really fascinating. I love getting to explore, not just the physicality of the setting, but also what remains of its people. Politics further adds extra layers of intrigue and worldbuilding to the story.
Overall, BOAT Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 serve as really strong introductions to the world of the flooded earth, and into the psyche of our main characters, leaving me wanting more.
Have you checked out the first few volumes of BOAT yet? What do you think so far? If you’re interested in more, volumes can be purchased via the creator’s website, and you can checkout the accompanying short film here. Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!