Water Memory: Because the ocean is redundantly frightening and super scary
If I were given the choice, between drowning in the ocean and decompressing in the vacuum of space, I would select space. Both are essentially the same, the removal of breathable material. They are different in how they are experienced and the details of timing or physical effects, but in space, my corpse would not be nibbled at by creatures. I have never been able to pinpoint why this creeps me out so much as worms and land creatures do not bother me.
The ocean contains monsters we have never even seen, monsters that hold grudges.
(Can you tell I grew up in a landlocked area? Is it that obvious?)
- Water Memory (Mathieu Reynes, Valerie Vernay)
- Translated by Jeremy Melloul
- 108 pages
- Lion Forge
- ISBN-10: 1941302432
- ISBN-13: 978-1941302439
Buying a copy through this link supports this site but cost you no extra money.
Marion and her mother Caroline move to a small coastal town, reviving the inherited house of Marion's deceased grandmother. The house sits in a beautiful location, set atop a hill overlooking the quaint town and the ocean.
While happy to be with her mother, Marion is disjointed. Supporting her mother, she left her friends behind and moves. With only her mother available to speak to, she is surrounded by strangers. Her cast aside father left to his new trophy wife. Marion never met her grandmother, only knowing her mother has a resemblance because the townsfolk all take a second glance and comment about her appearance. Her grandfather is dead, drowned at sea like so many other townsfolk in this fishing community.
Marion feels very alone.
Marion explores her new home. She goes swimming in the cold sea, hiking on the cliff side and country, and wanders the town. Carved on rocks overlooking the bay, Marion begins to identify strange carvings of ominous looking faces. Each carving includes cryptic initials and a calendar year. When she finds the same artwork on the town fountain, she begins to question the intent of these markers.
The community feels warm and welcoming, with no malice or ill will in the air. The exception being some strange vibes coming off the mysterious lighthouse keeper and carvings found strewn about which are vaguely reminiscent of Cthulu (insert ominous music to match). Through reading, I would take Marion to be about nine years old. She is inquisitive and resourceful.
Marion doesn't focus solely on occult-ish looking inscriptions. She has a tie to the past in her grand parents that she is also investigating. She is anxious for a connection with these well-loved individuals, filling a gap where no relationship has existed. While all she needs is her mom, she needs to explore more than just the landscape of her new home. Marion is trying to redefine herself in this new world where she resides both physically and emotionally.
This graphic novel was outstanding. I would say it is the best of the year, but anyone who reads Europe comics would blow smoke in my face and laugh at the delay my late arrival to the party.
Originally released under the Europe comics title 'la Mémoire l’eau' this graphic novel, translated from French, is both heartfelt and engaging. While the original French edition was released in 2014, it was not until this month that the English translation through Lion Forge became available.
The story by Reynes and the graphics by Vernay are beautifully crafted and you can tell by the content that this was a labor of love to bring to life. Each cell is precise in presentation and has a specific purpose. This wastes no time and leaves the reader engages in all ways.
At the end of the graphic novel, there is an author/artist section with some notations dictating their love of the work. They were careful to leave the mystery of the ocean intact and focus more on the entity of water than on any entity inside the water. I think this is wise as the ocean is a frightening beast in its own right and the unknown can serve an artist well.
The 2017 translation crafted by Jeremy Melloul is excellent, leaving no iffy descriptions or phrasing which feels incomplete. I trust that it stays true to the original text as it appeared flawless from the English perspective.