I wasn’t sure what to expect from this graphic novel when I opened it. The art is rough, and raw, and the story didn’t hook me right away. I soon found myself drawn in as Billie started to describe her struggle with imposter’s syndrome, something a lot (if not all) of us creatives go through for most of our careers. The art style quickly became complimentary to the story, and I had to finish it to find out what happens with Billie’s question to finish ten paintings for her first gallery show. This debut book is written, drawn, lettered, and colored by Zoe Thorogood.
The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott is a graphic novel about a young woman struggling with the onset of blindness from retinal detachment due to being attacked. Shortly before that she received an acceptance letter to have her art displayed in a gallery show and must complete ten paintings before the deadline. Due to the injury that deadline becomes much shorter. She travels around England, seeking out interesting people and places to be subjects in her work, hoping to have them done before that final darkness closes in.
The art, like I said, is rough and raw. For Zoe’s first book I’d say it’s pretty good. The most important thing is it matches the story. It is not a pretty story. It’s full of rough edges, dirty alleys, and dark people. That’s part of what makes the art work, but it’s also the details. The panels feel lived-in. The clutter of a bedroom, or the crowd in a busy street give the comic depth that some indie artists forget. It reminds you that there are more people, more things happening in the world, than just the figures attached to the talk bubbles.
What kept me reading was the story, and how relatable it is. Billie’s imposter syndrome, and struggle to create are so familiar to me as an author. The fear of losing the ability to create hits home as well. Our brains have this way of playing ‘what-if’ with us all the time, and the fear of what I would do if I lost the use of my hands, or eyes has crossed my mind a time or two. The more I learned about Billie, the more I wanted to see her succeed, and dreaded the inevitable end. Zoe did a great job making Billie, and many of the other characters, people the reader can care about. They are very real with their actions, feelings, and thoughts. It was a great read.
The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott will be available in stores in the U.K. on October 8th, and October 14th in the U.S. It will come in at 168 pages and retail for 12.99 BP or 16.95 USD. Keep an eye out for it and pick up a copy, I think you’ll like it.