cover image How to Survive in the North

How to Survive in the North

Luke Healy. Nobrow (Consortium, dist.), $22.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-910620-06-9

A thought-provoking graphic novel about the exploration of the Arctic, this debut examines three interconnected stories, two of which are based on actual early 20th-century expeditions. The third is a fictional story of a midlife crisis set in the present. Tenured professor Sully Barnaby’s personal life in Hanover, N.H., has come under scrutiny due to a relationship with a student; while dealing with the stress, he begins his own investigation into a pair of Arctic expeditions. One of these is the amazing story of Robert Bartlett, who saved numerous lives on the ill-fated Karluk Expedition. The other involves Ada Blackjack, an Iñupiat woman who survived for two years while stranded on Wrangel Island. Healy’s narrative gains power from the interconnecting stories and a carefully chosen thematic color palette, but above all it is powered by his brilliant handling of the wordless panels where so much of the story is told. Each of the stories is interesting in its own right. Taken together, they form a wonderful narrative about what human beings search for and what they give up in the process. (Nov.)