Wires and Nerve


Wires and Nerve coverWhen I heard that Marissa Meyer was creating a graphic novel sequel to her sci-fi fairytale series the Lunar Chronicles, I was intrigued.  Unlike the previous books in the series, Wires and Nerve spotlights Iko, the android with a faulty personality chip that makes her more human than robot.

As an android and the ninth wheel on a team with four romantic couples, Iko is definitely the odd one out.  Iko’s human friends have all found their place in the world and are now heroes, but Earthens have yet to recognize the part Iko played in saving the world.  Worst of all, Iko is feeling useless, and as Iko explains, “No android likes feeling useless.  It’s in our programming to make ourselves as useful to humans…as possible” (66).  Iko’s plan for how she can be useful to her best friend Cinder is a surprising and daring one.  Cinder needs someone to covertly capture the rogue Lunar wolf soldiers who are terrorizing Earth and return them to Luna for trial.  Dress-loving romantic Iko decides that she is the secret agent for the mission.  After all, the worst damage a wolf soldier could inflict would merely mean a trip to an android parts store, right?



Marissa Meyer crafts a story that remains true to the style she created in the Lunar Chronicles.  Her writing is clever and fun.  In spite of the change in genre, the tone of Wires and Nerve is surprisingly similar to the previous books, and the characters remain largely the same.  Iko and Thorne’s characters transition the best, while Cinder, Winter, and Cress seem a little bit stunted compared to their old selves.

I think when authors take a story and then turn it into a graphic novel—rather than starting the book as a graphic novel from the ground up—they often sacrifice clarity, tone, or character development to make the new visual style work.  I’ve noticed this trend in books like Matt Phelan’s Snow White, Art Ayris’ The Last Convert of John Harper, and Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man.  However, what these books and Wires and Nerve lose is gained back in different ways, especially in the artwork.


I really like Doug Holgate’s art in Wires and Nerve.  The action is easy to follow, the characters are dynamic, and the scenery is detailed and interesting.  As a standalone graphic novel, the artwork is good; however, as a sequel to the Lunar Chronicles, I do have a few problems with the graphics.  Except for Iko, the characters from the original series don’t look like I expected them to.  In particular, the wolf soldiers look wrong.  They are kind of silly—a little bit like trolls or ogres, not like men who have been genetically modified to have wolf characteristics.  These failings are pretty significant to me, but the other aspects of the story, style, and art help balance out problems with characters’ appearances.



While Wires and Nerves is not quite on par with the rest of the Lunar Chronicles, it is still a fun sequel.  The new graphic novel layout limits the storytelling at times but also adds some freshness and originality.  Author Marissa Meyer successfully integrates the graphic novel format with the style, setting, and characters from her previous sci-fi fairytale novels.

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Calvin and Hobbes for Christmas

Sled rides, slush balls, Susie Derkins, Santa Claus, deranged snow goons, a sneak attack tiger, and a wildly imaginative boy are all part of what make Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson perfect for the winter season.

Several of Bill Watterson’s collections of Calvin and Hobbes contain delightful and entertaining wintertime stories.  Comic strips set during winter can be found in Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons (pp. 68-108), in It’s a Magical World (pp. 137-end), in The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book (pp. 44-54 [this repeats part of the winter section in The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes] and pp. 91-103), in The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes (pp. 104-138), and in several other collections.  Each story is packed with humor as Calvin combats his desire to be on Santa’s “good” list with his desire to slug Susie with a snowball.

c&h2Calvin’s letter-writing marathon to Santa takes different approaches at pulling the wool over the old man’s eyes – from legalistic arguments to “presume innocent until proven guilty” to fine print qualifications of the statement “I have been extremely good* this year.”  Then, there are the hilarious snowball fights, death-defying sled rides, encounters with snow goons, and monopoly games which end in scuffles and name-calling.

These stories are not merely fun, though.  The characters ask many good questions that readers ought to consider.  For example:

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Even though the comic’s conclusions are usually shallow, that does not mean one’s own conclusions have to be.

For a short wintertime adventure full of comedy, philosophy, hyperactive imagination, a tiger named Hobbes, and a boy named Calvin, sit down by a fire with a cup of hot cocoa and read Bill Watterson’s timeless comic.

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