By Carla Speed McNeil
Genre: Science Fiction
Reading Level: 9th grade
Interest Level: 10th grade+
Awards: Eisner Award (2009), Russ Manning Award, Kim Yale Award, Ignatz Awards
Teaser: We all thought the future would be better: different. But after what happened, we all had to revert back to the past.
Summary: Far into the future, Earth has a very low population of humans. The humans that do exist are separated into clans. The clans are made up of people who live together and some of these people have powers. The setting is a combination of high tech environments with almost prehistoric environments. The main character, Jaeger, is the finder for his clan, the Ascian (McNeil’s version of Native Americans). The finder is in charge of doing exactly what his title says: he’s supposed to find things. Jaeger is also a sin eater which is a person who takes on all of his clan’s sins and then is cast out into the wild so that the clan can live without the burden of sin for a certain amount of time. Jaeger roams the Earth finding things for his clan and other people along the way. As Jaeger begins his mission to look for his ex and her children, he realizes that they are in more danger than he had originally thought. He better find them before the other guy does.
Information about the Author: On her website, McNeil writes, “I’m Carla Speed McNeil, the author and artist of Finder. I started working in comics since 1997 and haven’t stopped since. In addition to ten printed volumes of Finder, I have worked on a variety of projects like Queen & Country: Operation: Stormfront, written by Greg Rucka, published by Oni Press. I adapted and drew Pendragon: The Merchant of Death (based on the prose book by D. J. MacHale) for Simon & Schuster, drawn fan-favorite Frank Ironwine by Warren Ellis for Apparat/Avatar, as well as two pages of Transmetropolitan, also by Warren Ellis, for DC/Vertigo. Bad Houses, created with writer Sara Ryan, was released in 2013 by Dark Horse Comics to general acclaim. Then I began a long series of collaborations with writer Alex De Campi by drawing part of her bookAshes, an issue of My Little Pony (IDW), and a new miniseries called No Mercy (Image) beginning April 2015.”
Critical Evaluation: This graphic novel is written differently than other graphic novels I have read. One of my dislikes about comics and graphic novels is that sometimes less focus is put on the writing and more is focused on telling the story through the frames. When this happens, the writing is often very short and staccato. The characters never say full sentences because the artist does not want the whole square to taken up by a dialogue box. In Finder, the writing is substantial. There are definitely full sentences and the are not written in a choppy, fast-paced way. The illustrations in this version of the book are in black and white, not color. I was a little disappointed by this when I received this book in the mail. However, the drawings are done so well that I do not mind the missing color. the line work is incredible and reminds me of old comic books.
Curriculum Ties: N/A
Booktalk Ideas: N/A
Challenge Issues: Violence, Death, Language
Challenge Resources: Rationale for choosing this book (see “Why Did I Pick This”), Engage students and parents in discussions about intellectual freedom, ALA Library Bill of Rights,Challenge Resources from the American Library Association
Why Did I Pick This: I picked this graphic novel because I thought that the concept of a futuristic-prehistoric dystopian world was a very interesting setting. Once I read the graphic novel, I fell in love with the characters and I know that teens will too.