Saturday in the Stacks

Descender & Ascender

Saturday is the perfect time to wander through the stacks (that’s librarian-speak for “bookshelves”) and talk about books and the people who write them. Pull up a comfy chair and settle in, because today I want to chat about a pair of graphic novels that are near and dear to my comic loving heart: Descender and Ascender written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen (who you can visit this weekend at Emerald City Comic Con – I know I will be stopping by to say hello!)

Published by Image Comics starting in March of 2015 and finishing July of 2018, Descender is a scifi space opera series that follows the odyssey of TIM-21, a young android in a galaxy where artificial intelligence and robotics has been outlawed following a cataclysmic and mysterious attack by planet-sized machines. The series explores themes of grief, othering, alienation, and finding one’s place in the universe. Ascender, a sequel series published from April 2019 to August 2021 is set ten years after the conclusion of Descender, and, without giving too much away about either series, it essentially asks the question: can magic and science coexist?

These two creators have been favorites of mine since I first started reading comics – Dustin Nguyen was one of the three or four people I visited during my very first Emerald City Comic Con well over ten years ago! I have always loved the way Nguyen’s art communicates the emotion of both the setting and the characters, while still being highly stylized and instantly recognizable. No one else draws quite like him and his work really shines in Descender and Ascender. It perfectly fits the otherworldly material in both series while keeping the story grounded.

Which comics have rocked your world lately? If you’ve never read one, but you’re a fan of my Cadence Turing Mystery Series, I highly recommend Descender, Ascender, and/or a series called Alex & Ada as good places to start!

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Published by rsjeffrey

Robin Jeffrey was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to a psychologist and a librarian, giving her a love of literature and a consuming interest in the inner workings of people’s minds.

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