Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 by Thomas Ott

Spoiler-free summary:
While cleaning up after the execution of an inmate, a prison guard finds a scrap of paper with a long, strange sequence of numbers on it. He pockets the paper and soon finds that the numbers have a wonderful and horrifying significance. The prison guard's story is told without words - only with pictures, and, of course, the numbers.


I saw this book at the library and was instantly drawn to the weird title and interesting black and white artwork. I'm so, so glad I picked it up.

I was initially thinking that the numbers would represent something akin to the "numbers" in the TV series Lost, but the numbers in this graphic novel manage to be way, way more ominous. Perhaps it is because they are there for the prison guard, always, no matter what. He's not interacting with them in the way the character's in Lost are, they're just happening to him, over and over. I also think that, despite the lack of words, Thomas Ott does a nice job of letting the magic of the numbers just be, which is something I think Lost kind of screwed up...

I was nervous at first because there are no words in this book and I am notoriously bad at not looking at the pictures in graphic novels, but the drawings couldn't be ignored. They are bold, creepy, and do a wonderful job of conveying action and emotion.

It's a very quick read, but I get the feeling that this one will stay with me for a long time.

I can't wait to read Thomas Ott's other works.

Buy The Number 73304-23-4153-6-96-8 from Amazon in hardcover or paperback today.

Pictures: Fantagraphics Books

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