Richard McGuire’s experimental graphic novel Here began over twenty-five years ago as a six page graphic short in the pages of the now legendary RAW magazine. In this short piece, McGuire maintained a fixed perspective across every square panel—a seemingly mundane view of a living room with a window that looks out onto the street. However, instead of moving in conventional time across panels as one would expect, each panel made grand leaps in time across decades, centuries, and eons, moving forward and backward in time. People, families, and entire civilizations come and go while McGuire keeps his view trained on one spot that has seen time’s march from the primordial ooze to the sanitized future.
Jump to twenty-five years later and McGuire has returned with over 300 pages, expanding the original black and white graphic short into a full color graphic novel. The effect is much the same, but the canvas has gotten much bigger. The view that was once crammed into the size of a panel, now spans across the fold of the book creating full two-page layouts, with panels of various shapes and sizes that work as windows into another time, where the reader will find moments that rhyme, collide, and narrate.
McGuire uses this setup to bring forth any number of stunning effects, one of my favorites being an arrow that travels in what seems like slo-motion across a number of pages, while behind it, in the larger panel, millions of years pass as the earth coalesces into shape and color. With it’s daring experimentation with time and space, it’s no overstatement to compare McGuire’s Here to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey jumping from early man to space travel in a single cut. The original Here comic was this kind of “Aha!” moment for comics. And the graphic novel is it’s beautiful full length feature.
You may find this in our catalog—or ask any of our staff!
This review was written by Micheal McCubbins, one of the awesome library technicians that works in the Center for the Reader (and a number of other places in the library). He’s very knowledgeable about graphic novels, so if you would like some reading suggestions from this part of our collection, please let him know!