Climate Changed is one of those concepts that plays itself out. The material, the medium, the subject, all move together in the best possible ways: Graphic novel to depict the reality of the situation without seeming hyperbolic, informed/researched topic established and defended against its more vocal opponents, and a story of personal growth and introspection to invest the reader. All the author has to do is load the gun and shot the fish that he’s managed to wrangle up into his barrel.
Well, the magic of ego, self-pity, or pessimism managed to knock the gun out of his hand causing it to misfire into an oxygen tank. Now we’re left with a bunch of free fish, the remnants of a promising barrel, a sinking ship, and a cantankerous artist trying to stay afloat. Although, that scenario might be a little too active to be compared to climate changed. Perhaps a better analogy would have the author staring at the barrel for a few hundred pages while he reads about the history of barrel making and ultimately decides that fish are impervious to bullets.
Every brilliant idea in Climate Changed is boiled down into its least palatable state and mashed together with a pessimistic outlook and a disdain towards purpose.
The material consists of well-drawn scenarios and informative pages that weave in and out of autobiographical portraits commenting on the book. However, these moments of clarity are drowned in huge walls of text that illustrate various experts explaining the concepts and complexities of global warming and climate change. If the reader is lucky enough they can even experience a few pages of the author drawing himself, thinking about the walls of text, that he has drawn and giving exposition on how it makes him feel. When he’s not reflecting on his own work (that he is in the process of making) he’s introducing the act of him coming up with the idea to do whatever it is he is about to do. The Katrina, Fast Food, and economic portions are fantastic, but the sheer volume of redundancy that separates them makes it almost impossible to read that far into the story.
Any hope that the author had of exploiting the unique venue of graphic novels to create a more satisfying end is lost after the first 100 pages. We get an insightful frame story that shows how little the author (and by proxy the reader) knows about global warming. A solution is made: let’s take the same infographics that we’ve been seeing for years, coupled with the same dry explanations we’ve been ignoring for years, and punctuate them with illustrations of events and consequences that we’ve been sharing and forgetting for years. In the end, we’re left with a compartmentalized collection of the highlights of climate change.
Now if you’re an optimist you’re still hoping that the author is growing as a person and a narrator during his quest for knowledge. I mean he gave us a problem and went into detail about its causes and what needs to be done, he’d have to go out of his way to avoid coming to some sort of conclusion or statement that reflects the past 430 pages of work.
Well optimists you are correct, he indeed does literally go out of his way into a forest atop a remote hill and declares that change is almost certainly an impossibility. He doesn’t see anything that we as individuals can do to help.
Hold on though, this is some postmodern, neo-new artistic type stuff, the ideas and results and content must be layered. Right? I mean who would write a 430-page book about something that is wrong in the world and have no intent or purpose behind it. Maybe he’s commenting on how defeated we are and the problems that this attitude causes? Yeah, that’s it, giant metaphor meant to document the struggle to not act in comparison to the logic of acting towards a solution. Well, maybe that was complex but at least he got us to think and change by creating something he truly believed would help.
Actually, no, the author in a later interview says that he doesn’t believe his book or any form of media can change anything in the world. So, no layers, just a spread out piece of narcissistic sadness printed on 430 pages of ironic former trees.
Possible Alternative Titles: An Inconvenient Truth Part Deux: We’re Pretty Much Screwed