Not Alone – Sophocles Sapounas
“What would you call a pet goldfish?”
“That’s a stupid name”
“How about ‘Silence’?”
“You’re not even trying”
Zombies, amnesia and a world turned upsidedown.
Not Alone is Sophocles Sapounas’ first graphical novel and is also the first volume in the Not Alone series. Published in July 2021, it has both ebook and softcover comic formats.
Critics compared the graphic to both Scott Pilgrim and the Monthy Python series for its unique sense of humor. The second volume is currently waiting for release.
The story follows a nameless teenage girl as she navigates her way through the zombie apocalypse. Attempting to find her uncle, she quite literally lands upon an amnesiac teenage boy instead. Reluctantly thrown together in a world that wants them dead, they struggle to live long enough to reach safety. What they don’t know, however, is that ‘safety’ is a relative term, and the supposed good guys aren’t quite what they seem. Armed with a large backpack, a sleeping bag, and questionable weapons, the unlikely pair must use everything they have to survive.
Not Alone is incredibly basic and almost painful to read.
- The artwork is rough around the edges, but it suits the plot perfectly. Since the comic is set in a world where death and destruction lurk around every corner, the minimal black and white style compliments the storyline.
- It’s super easy to read. The dialogue is short and to-the-point and there are only two main characters. The comic can quickly be read in half an hour or less, making it ideal for a lunch break or public transport.
- The main character is incredibly sarcastic which makes her dialogues fun to read. She’s quick-witted and sharp and her sense of humor is easily the highlight of the entire comic.
- There is no plot. None. Nada. Nope. Nothing. The girl doesn’t mention that she’s searching for her uncle until halfway through the comic, despite never explaining why she’s looking for him. They vaguely hint at something being in the city, which is why both characters head there, but that reason is never explained either. They refer to “the plan” a lot, without ever stating what the plan really is, and every action they take seems to just be an excuse to introduce more zombies.
- The characters are walking clichés. The badass independent girl who’s tough and sarcastic and can overpower two fully grown men in a flash and has a hella cool scar on her face for Drama. The geeky boy who acts as comic relief despite being terrified all the time in order to make the aforementioned badass female seem even braver. He also conveniently has no past of his own thanks to conveniently timed amnesia, meaning he has no role whatsoever other than ‘sidekick’.
- The characters aren’t the only thing that’s clichéd; the dialogue is packed with them. “You don’t talk much do you?” showcasing the strong but silent warrior girl. “I’m not holding your hand” to build up ‘suspense’ just before they turn on the lights. And the irony of all ironies, “That sounds like it came right out of a bad movie”, which is apparently acceptable to say, because this is a comic book. There’s even the stereotypical “oops I just tripped and conveniently landed on top of you” trope. One painful line after another.
Overall, I’d give Sophocles Sapounas’ Not Alone one out of five. It’s over-the-top but somehow childishly simple at the same time, and its only slightly redeeming feature is the sarcastic humor of Main Character #1. But even that is full of clichés and stereotypes, making this graphic not at all worth the read.
I’d recommend this novel to absolutely nobody at all unless you’ve got some time to kill while waiting for a friend or a bus. Other than that, pretend the comic book’s a zombie, and stay well away from it.
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