Darkness Outside The Night is a new (ish) graphic novel from Tabella Publishing. Written by Eliparvic Xie Peng and Duncan Jepson, with art by Xie Peng and text by Jepson, only available on digital right now, it’s dark, full of isolation, lots of anger, but also strangely beautiful, as some of thse pages we’re showing you here are testament to.
Here’s a little from Tabella…
“What is it to be young in modern China? It is an important question. Many predict that one day the country will rival and possibly eclipse the US and it will be their China by then. The truth for most young Chinese is that the future seems very unpredictable. There is the pressure from the grueling competition to secure employment and frustration from enduring an often ridiculous education system. Han Han captures the absurdity of the reality so cleverly in his writing, now finally turning up on Western bookshelves, but there has been little expression of this life in illustration.
Over a period of four years, Xie Peng created a series of intense and beautiful vignettes in reaction to his life in Shanghai. His work focused on the various journeys of a small simple character, significant only by the scarf wrapped around his neck. Duncan was shown these in early 2011 with the opportunity to work with Xie Peng to shape a story for a graphic novel and was immediately keen collaborate with him. For his part, Duncan had spent several years making a documentary film on Chinese youth and had come to understand the anxiety and insecurity expressed in Xie Peng’s illustrations.
Darkness outside the Night is not a story about Chinese politics, it is simply about the struggle to build a life and work in a chaotic, surreal and cruelly unequal society of one and a half billion.”
And now lets show you a bit of it. Cover, intro text and then selected pages to give you a feel.
I sit at my desk and shut my eyes tightly.
One of a billion locked together.
My hands cover my face.
The darkness inside, surrounds me, again.
Yet there it is in the corner of my eye…
… but as always, just out of reach.