By Tom Ward, Luke Parker
Writer Tom Ward takes history and puts his own twist on it in Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman. Joseph Merrick as well as Sir Frederick Treves and Tom Norman were all real people during the 1800’s and ones that Ward has decided to bring to light once more in this tale of historical fiction. Issue #1 sets out to explain the meetings of each of these men, as well as give a glimpse through time as to how everyone reacted to Joseph’s appearance and some of the struggles he had during his life. A lot of this issue’s events are taken from real occurrences (look them up!) and retells them in a noir style of storytelling.
Throughout the story Ward travels back and forth through time-frames; one showcasing Joseph’s time spent with Tom Norman, and the other showing him in the aftermath of the shocking scene that kicks off the story — this is where we’re first introduced to Sir Frederick Treves as well.
The artist on this series is Luke Parker. Throughout a lot of the story he places the panels into shadowed settings, whether it be at night during the shocking opening scene or one that introduces Joseph to a new audience as he at first resides in the shadows. A lot of his panels are in blues and greys, most often showing a lack of color, but befitting to the noir type style. A full page showcases a blue-tinted image of Joseph’s face with various medical equipment and records floating around him in separate smaller panels. The scene is composed mostly of the blue, but also containing the grey smaller panels and various reds.
Ward and Parker take on history in their interpretation of the story of Joseph Merrick, a man whose story has been told in many forms and portrayed by various actors over the years in both plays and film.