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Book festival comic inspired by climate change

IDP:2043 is an ambitious anthology in which wellknown comic creators imagine a Scotland transformed by climate change

IDP:2043 is an ambitious anthology in which wellknown comic creators imagine a Scotland transformed by climate change

  • by BRIAN FERGUSON
 

Set three decades in the future, it presents a bleak vision of a 
Scotland ravaged by the effects of climate change.

A new comic book depicts how a catastrophic rise in sea levels leads to the creation of new communities on high ground – and the sinister manipulation of a changing society.

The graphic novel, overseen by Scottish crime novelist Denise Mina, features artwork and stories by a host of the art form’s top writers and artists.

The project has been instigated by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where the book will be launched at two special events this weekend.

Among those involved have been Trainspotting author 
Irvine Welsh, 2000AD creator Pat Mills, artists Dan McDaid and Adam Murphy, French illustrator Stephane-Yves Barroux and graphic novelists Will Morris, Mary Talbot and Hannah Berry.

Six stories, linked by an over-arching plot thread created by Glasgow-born Mina, centre on a sprawling new township which has been created in Scotland’s highest village, inspired by the real-life location of Wanlockhead, in Dumfriesshire, which is 1,531 feet above sea level.

The comic strips, which differ vastly in style, revolve around Cait McNeil, presenter of a reality TV show filmed inside a “sky farm” which has been created inside a towering complex where a host of experiments are being pioneered.

Themes of science, gender, race, social hierarchies and privilege are tackled in the book, 
entitled IDP:2043 and named after the phrase “internally displaced person”.

It was commissioned a year ago by the book festival as part of a major new strand celebrating graphic novels and comic books.

Mina, who made her name with the Garnethill trilogy of novels, has worked on a number of comic and graphic novel projects in the past, including Hellblazer and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for US publisher DC Comics.

She told The Scotsman: “The original idea was a graphic novel looking ahead 30 years in the 
future to tie in with the book festival’s 30th anniversary.

“Climate change just seemed like a really obvious issue to tackle. I really wanted to get away from the whole debate over Scottish independence, as people don’t really seem to be talking about anything else at the moment. I wanted a much wider story.

“It took a bit of time to find a structure that would work. I haven’t really liked the idea of collective books in the past.

“I wanted to find a way of 
allowing an action split that let the writers and artists create their own story.

“I also wanted to make sure there was a lot of action in the book.

“Although the same characters pop up throughout the book, the styles of the stories are all completely different. It was only when I saw them all together in the book that I got a sense that the project had really worked.”

Nick Barley, the book festival’s director, said the images conjured up by the writers and artists who worked on the project were “nothing like the science fiction visions from the 1960s and 1970s”.

He said: “Graphic novels are good at imagining the future. In fact, most of our classic images of tomorrow’s world – silver jumpsuits, flying cars and robotic gadgets – probably originated in graphic novels or comics.

“In this book, the future looks a lot less shiny than it used to. Those enticing images from the past were driven by an underlying sense technology offered the prospect of real progress for the human race, if only we could keep scientific knowledge out of the hands of the baddies.

“Today, it’s not quite clear who the baddies might be.”

IDP:2043, published by Glasgow-based Freight Books, is launched at the book festival on Saturday.

 

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