cover artOne of the books I currently have from the library is a graphic novel called The Explorer’s Guild. I borrowed it because one of the co-authors is the actor Kevin Costner. I wouldn’t call myself a huge Costner fan, he is a good actor but I haven’t seen all of his movies and have no plans to do so. I borrowed the book because I was curious.

The book looks really nice and sets the mood for the story. A heavy chunkster with an old-timey looking adventure story cover, when you open it the paper is a pleasant creamy “old book” color slightly darker around the edges than in the middle of the page. And the drawings are a sort of monochrome palette and highly detailed laid out in a comic book fashion. There are also pages of text, usually one or two, integrated between the comic panels with little illustrations. It is a pleasing look and feel.

However, after one chapter I am not so sure I want to keep reading because I don’t really care for the story. It is made clear from the start that the Explorer’s Guild is made up of all men, mostly of the gentlemanly sort. And while the story takes place during WWI, I don’t know why the Guild has to be all men. Paging through the book there is a woman who appears much later, an actress known to have many affairs, so I am not certain what sort of role she has in the story.

Also, the story is set, at least in the beginning, in “Arabia” and the company of British soldiers is worried about being attacked by two thousand “Turkmen” and angry looking “Mohammedan” armies wearing turbans and carrying scimitars. Um…

That this adventure story is set during a time of racism and colonialism is one thing, that it plays into it is bothersome to me. If I keep reading, maybe the story redeems itself in some way, but then it might not.

When I started writing this I thought perhaps it would end up convincing me to keep going for at least one more chapter. But now, I think I am going to mark it down as DNF and return it to the library. I fell better already.