Elaine M. Will is a self-published Saskatchewan graphic novel author best known for her work on the Xeric Award-winning mental health drama and graphic novel, Look Straight Ahead. For her next project, Elaine has chosen to adapt the 1986 prose novel by Andreas Schroeder called Dustship Glory.
Dustship Glory is the story of Tom Sukanen, a very real Finnish immigrant to Great Depression-era Saskatchewan. Tom, driven mad by the decay of the extreme droughts of dirty 1930’s Prairies Canada and the estrangement of his family, set about building a Wooden Steamship in the middle of his plot of land in Macrorie, Saskatchewan with the aim of sailing to Finland. There was just one small problem with Tom’s plan, however, and that is that he was an absolute minimum of 1,000km from any open access to the Ocean. Setting about this task made Tom an object of derision, mockery and hatred by his fellow townsfolk, who viewed his unfailing efforts as a needless waste of resources in a time of abject scarcity.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have not read the original Schroeder novel. So I am unable to make the inevitable adaptation-to-source material comparison. Overall the story was great. Clean and clear black and white graphics tell the tale of Tom building his ship while flashback sequences are wonderfully shaded with multi-toned ink wash. I almost wish the whole book was done with the added depth but I understand the style choice to differentiate the two time periods.
The graphic novel is featured in December’s Previews catalogue from Diamond so you can easily ask your Local Comic Shop to order in a copy using Diamond order code DEC171759 or you can order online at the McNally Robinson website at http://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/9780991866915/elaine-will/dust-ship-glory
Issue: Dustship Glory | Publisher: Cuckoo’s Nest Press
Writer: Elaine M. Will | Artist: Elaine M. Will
Price: $19.99 – 160 pages