So amidst the heatwave of the last month it’s been a great opportunity to look back at some of the fantastic graphic novels and comics we’ve received of late. One book in particular which has long caught our attention is the simply stunning looking ‘ Tistow : Papers Please ‘ by Elli Puukangas and Mark Thomas.
‘Papers Please’ is the first story of the Tistow saga, following the story of a young man called Jack, venturing from his homeland to the epic city of Tistow, which is busily readying itself for war. Jack isn’t like most men though and can transform himself into an animal form. As Jack fights his way through the chaos he quickly finds himself slipping into the dark underbelly of the city and becomes embroiled with gangs and the criminal side of Tistow. Evidently it’s going to take a lot for Jack to fight through this side of the city and ensure he can find allies who will help him.
What’s most striking from the start is just how gorgeous Tistow is. Elli Puukangas illustrations and detailing are something to behold. You really feel a sense of the vibrancy within Tistow and the action literally pops from the page. The city is believably industrial, with rising smoke and a rue victorian edge. That’s not to say it’s not without it’s beauty, with some stunning architecture which is illuminated in an almost heavenly fashion by Elli’s work.
It’s also great to have a map literally welcoming you into this world, which gives the piece a fantastic level of depth. It’s clear there’s a large world on offer here and Papers Please, though short is setting up something very special indeed.
The story literally follows Jack from his arrival in Tistow and takes the reader on a whistle stop tour of the city of Tistow and the darker corner which perhaps the average resident doesn’t venture down. Also we get to check out his amazing transformation powers, which are beautifully conveyed in Elli’s illustrations. It’s an engaging and unique story and one which will be sure to leave you on the edge of your seat. One extra fantastic addition are the excellent sketch pages in the back of the book, allowing readers to get a glimpse of additional art on all the main characters.
‘Papers Please’ is a great first introduction into Tistow. If you’d like to check it out make sure you follow Elli’s work at http://tistow.uk/