The great thing is, it doesn’t take long for In Vitro - from creator William Roy - to become a wonderful, heartfelt, and sincerely moving story of two people trying to bring life into the world. A handful of pages in, Roy’s darker, and at times even juvenile, tones and sense of humor as both a storyteller and cartoonist begin to trickle into the story. It not only paints a vivid picture of the inner machinations of our male, infertile character Guillaume, but it heightens his loneliness, sense of inadequacy, and something I hadn’t considered in such a situation: guilt. One might imagine that the infantile humor might work to keep the reader at arm's length, undercutting the emotional weight of the story, but instead it works to cover his insecurities, drawing us closer in as he and wife Emma go through the emotional and time-consuming ordeal of in vitro fertilization.
Roy mixes scientific explanation with moments of great humanity, creating an unexpected page turner. Some moments are breathtaking in their simplicity, such as when Guillaume is about to tell his mother that he may never be able to have a baby. It’s a crushing moment. Other moments had me laughing out loud, like when he realizes what those prayer beads were. Finally, the pages after several wrenching sequences are staggering in how the story unfolds. Will they or won’t they, after everything they’ve been through? That’s the question, and Roy handles the answer with such visual grace that Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 comes to mind. And in the final moment, as Roy gets a phone call that echoes an earlier passage in the book, like great stories do, make you feel complete.
Creative Team: William Roy (story and art), Benjamin Croze (translator), Jonathan Stevenson (US Edition editor), Amanda Lucido (assistant editor), Vincent Henry (original edition editor), Jerry Frissen (senior art director), Fabrice Giger (publisher)
Publisher: Humanoids Life Drawn
Click here to purchase.