‘Dawn of the Unread: For It Was Saturday Night’ - Comic Book Review

Over the past few decades, comic books and graphic novels have found their way into the United States' education system, providing the basis of study for a myriad of courses across various areas of study.  While the sequential art medium is alive and well in this capacity, it is also being used to combat frighteningly high levels of illiteracy across the seas in the UK.  As a response to the spread of illiteracy, James Walker, Chair of the Nottingham Writers’ Studio and Literature Editor at LeftLion magazine, founded Dawn of the Unread, a digital comic serial that aims to encourage reading and advocate for greater funding of public libraries. 

Since its launch on February 8, 2014, and every month thereafter, Dawn of the Unread has released a new (and free) digital comic book on its website, featuring the work of contemporary writers and comic artists, including Alison Moore, Eddie Campbell, Hunt Emerson, Carol Swain, and Gary Erskine.  Each story is short in length and resurrects literary figures from the past of Nottingham, England, to encourage literacy.  The digital serial will conclude on June 8, 2016, with the release of a physical copy of the book. 

The Dawn of the Unread website also features a wealth of resources for encouraging struggling readers, as well as those who seek to submit their own stories.  Each digital comic ends with an invitation to the "Unread Library," a system of reading comprehension questions that challenge, encourage, and entertain. 

I recently had the chance to read the comic, For It Was Saturday Night, written by James Walker and illustrated by Carol Swain, and enjoyed the tale for its efforts to reach younger readers with the history of pubs serving as "libraries" at a time when libraries were unavailable to the masses.  While I will caution that the comics' writing did prove to be a bit difficult to decipher, given its strong basis in British slang, I greatly appreciated its goal of educating readers and heightening the importance of literacy in our digital age.

I hope that Dawn of the Unread will continue through to its completion in print form next year, and I applaud the independent creators involved with the project. 

Last modified on Monday, 24 December 2018 20:12

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