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The Inhabitants by the Sheehan Bros.

1 Aug
The Inhabitants, a graphic novel in four parts by the Sheehan Bros – Kelly on script and Darren on art – is an overwhelming escape into a nightmarish dream-scape of strange creatures and wondrous characters. The story opens with us being introduced to a young man named Tom who happens to suddenly gain the ability to fly, or float, depending on what your thoughts are about whether Tom is in a dream or has walked into another world – much like Dorothy or Alice. It is important that you keep in mind these two characters of lore as the story is very visual, much like Oz, and Wonderland.
I bought the four issues as a set because I wanted to make sure I had the entire collection to read in one sitting as I am of the mind that its better to have the whole story to read rather than an issue at a time, but we all know that sometimes that is not possible. But I was glad that the Sheehan’s had the singles and sets for sale. The cost for this amazing work of escapism and graphic story-telling was NZ$18.00 for all four. Of course if you just want to read it, it is available on their blogsite.


Now back to the story. Tom’s sudden new-found skill has him run into some new friends who like himself are very skilled, such as Jimmy Dynamite who has the ability to make fire with his fingers. Jimmy himself is a caricature of a 1960s Afro-maned hippie. Tom is welcomed into the group of familiars and shown the ropes, so to speak, regarding his skill, where he is and what is happening.


Much like Tom, I felt none the wiser as to what was unfolding before me – like Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere or even Clive Barker’s Weaveworld. The vast landscape in which the story is set is amazing. I loved the representation of landmarks, like the Auckland City Library which was so easy to recognize having myself spent many months in 2007 reading all the graphic novels the Library had on the shelf and some, like Alan Moore’s The Girls, hidden in the back. The landscape is also reminiscent of Gaiman’s London from the aforementioned Neverwhere.

The Inhabitants is very much like walking through a dream as you try to work out who the characters are and what is happening. Which of course is not easy to do when you are reading a graphic novel these days as there is always so much publicity about it you already know what you are in for before you even start. But reading the The Inhabitants for me was like breathing fresh air, while at the same time trying to wade through the story and figure out – much like a puzzle – what was happening and how everything fit together. 

The illustrations dominate the book much more than the story itself, becoming the visual descriptors for the minimalist foray into the graphic. Each page is filled with new and interesting cityscapes and streets with buildings from the two different worlds. Being privy to seeing the artist draw for future works, I loved seeing the pencil and line work on the pages. No sign of a digital tool is found in the panels as each illustration is finely hand drawn and set out in a very simple yet powerful way. No tone is used in the black and white graphic novel.

As mentioned already, the story is told more through the art than the words itself which for me – though a very visual person – as a writer I found hard, as I wanted to be told what was happening at the turn of every new page. But I was forced to focus on the artwork for new information, which is what sets graphic novels apart from contemporary literature such as novels.
You can find out more about the Bros. and also on the graphic novel on their website which has some amazing webcomics, as well as Flash based motion comics, The Longman and Go Gorillas.

For story and art I give this a 4/5 Stars as its very rewarding to read, but still I found it a little lacking in originality and felt more needed to be explained. But thats me – I would suggest you give it a go yourself and decide.




(ARU), Aruneshwar has just finished his Bachelors Degree in Digital Media -Digital Film-making. Having decided to become a teacher so he can see the world, he has just begun a Diploma in Digital Media -Multimedia. On the creative side Aru, is writing and illustrating a graphic novel about the 30yrs of Institutionalised Slavery of Indians in Fiji from 1885 -1915. He is a prolific script writer and writes in all comic book genres which include several graphic novels for his own company, Rising Sun Comics. A weekly webcomic Zero©can be found here.