Even God Leaves a Carbon Footprint
The emergence of life on Earth has always been a topic for speculation. Be it aliens, divine creation, evolution or a Flying Spaghetti Monster, everyone has a theory and each theory comes with its own mythology and mysticism. In his new graphic novel, Carbon, Daniel Boyd presents us with a different take on our origin story, one mixed with science, a God forged and fueled by the thoughts of man and the consequences for disrupting the natural balance.
Boyd's genesis story starts with the Garden of Eden and the first prayer that brought God to life. Original man asked for balance and protection from the flying succubi demons that plagued the land. God complied, and things were good. But when man upset the balance, the Divine punished humans, condemning them to spend an immortal underground existence with the evil beings they once banished. As Boyd's supreme being states, “God does not make the rules, believers do. And so, it was done.” After a millennium in exile, first man reverted back to their original state—carbon, the substance of all life—and became an eternally burning fossil fuel.
After a millennium in exile, first man reverted back to their original state—carbon, the substance of all life—and became an eternally burning fossil fuel.
Enter the villain of this story, a greedy coal baron set on extracting every last ounce of the magical element, even if that means releasing vicious succubi creatures onto the world. Within the span of 30 years, the tycoon turns a green West Virginia town into a gutted, black mining society where young men are funneled into the mine shafts and few ever return. Boyd dedicates his graphic novel to “those who toil in the darkness,” painting coal miners as unsung heroes.
Illustrator Edi Guedes, an emerging comic book/horror artist, brings Boyd's environmental sci-fi to life. Using a dark color palette, the illustrator gives the tale the feeling of an old '80s horror movie. Guedes' style reminds me of a mix between classic superhero comics and the more modern Preacher series illustrated by Steve Dillon.
Guedes' simple yet involved illustrations definitely take the cake in this graphic novel, outshining Boyd's storytelling. While the plot feels original and easily grabs the reader's attention at first with the interesting mythology surrounding Boyd's genesis story and his succubus monsters, the ending left something to be desired. The resolution felt a little rushed and left me saying, “Wait, what?” at the end of the book. However, there is the possibility for redemption. Boyd plans to release two Carbon sequels, Salt and Gold, that will hopefully elaborate on the fable he's set up for us and personalize his characters more.