The North End of the World mixes historical, biographical and anthropological elements concerning the changing culture of the Kwakiutl Indian tribe of British Columbia in the early 1900s and one man’s obsession with documenting their way of life at all costs. Yet publishers of The North End of the World, Black Watch Comics are adamant that the graphic novel is not a biography, a history nor an anthropological work. Rather it is the fictionalized account of Edward Sherriff Curtis’ doomed foray into the world of the Kwakiutl Indian tribe of the Queen Charlotte Strait region of the Central Coast of British Colombia.
Curtis, was one of the most famous portrait photographers in North America when he sailed to Fort Rubert, BC, in 1914 to film his groundbreaking silent film “In the Land of the Head Hunters”. The film, although received well by the critics was a commercial failure. Consequently, Curtis never again owned his own home, had much money or kept the fame he had achieved in the early part of his career.
This captivating story, based on the real Edward S. Curtis, is written by Dave Hunsacker and accompanied by absolutely stunning artwork by Christopher Shy. The story stands on it’s own merit as a tale of one man’s journey into the depths of his own soul, however coupled with Shy’s atmospheric art, the result is a tale of epic proportions.
228 pages of Christopher Shy’s stunning artwork is reason alone to own this book. In many ways, it seems less like something that should be contained within a graphic novel and more fitting for an art gallery wall. The artwork sets the tone beautifully for the haunting story detailing the end of Indian culture on Vancouver Island.
Hunsacker’s skill as a storyteller lies in his ability to generate empathy for the characters, in particular Curtis, even if they’re not always likeable. Although the reader may at times struggle to understand Curtis’ determination to find the cannibal at the North End of the World, it’s the eternal tale of man’s struggle with internal and external demons that readers will have the most empathy for.
Readers can order a copy of The North End of The World directly from www.thenorthendoftheworld.com