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‘Finder: Talisman’ – Hardcover Review


Finder TalismanDark Horse captures Issues #19-21 of Carla Speed McNeil’s Eisner-winning self-published work, Finder, in this slim but intriguing volume.

Crossing from hard sci-fi to urban fantasy, Finder tells the interlocking stories of a vastly depopulated earth where tribes of nomads and hunter-gatherers live, surrounding domed city states run by various clans and families.  Into this mix, McNeil has added an almost Aboriginal perspective on the events taking place in this media-saturated world, where our time is but a distant memory, uncovered only in nostalgic souvenirs.

Finder: Talisman takes a break from the larger narrative to focus on the story of Marcie Grosvenor, introduced as the youngest child of Brigham Grosvenor and Emma Lockhart, friends of the series’ main protagonist (if he can be called that), Jaeger Ayer.

Given a book by Jaeger on one of his rare and magical visits, Marcie becomes enchanted with the story he reads her from it, since she doesn’t know how to read herself.  But, when the book is lost, Marcie becomes obsessed with finding then, ultimately, recreating it by writing it herself, first by learning to read then by immersing herself in the “antiques” she finds in old bookstores and eschewing the plug-in entertainment favored by the rest of society.  (A bookcart outside a coffeeshop bears the sign “Remainders-Dead Tree Specials!!”)

Page 66: “I loved this one odd little book when I was in third grade, had no idea what is was called, or who wrote it (Wrote it?  Nobody wrote it!  It’s just, y’know, like, a book I like!!), and couldn’t find it again.  Not until I was twenty-six years old did I spot it again – riding under the elbow of a customer in a bookstore I was working in.  I pounced on her, I can tell you:  I’d recognized the cover and I had to have a better look at it.  Thank God, she understood completely.  She was One of Us.”
From Notes, Carla Speed McNeil

While it’s hard not to imagine McNeil penning this arc as an autobiographical tale, it transcends that obvious and limited comparison.  This volume speaks to the power of a story to grip us and change us, and form the way we see (and often cope with) the world.  In her quest to recreate that lost book, Marcie recreates herself in its image, bringing a sense of magic and wonder to her tech-heavy world.  While it bounces from sensation to sensation, Marcie immerses herself in mythology and metaphor, seeking the Talisman that will allow her to complete her task.

Equally as fascinating, McNeil includes an extensive section of notes at the end of the volume, citing sources for quotes and excerpts contained within the work as well as providing additional information about her inspirations and additional backstory for the characters and beats within.  It’s a heady look at the creative process, not only as what inspires an artist, but what challenges them as well.

Volumes 1-9 of the Finder series are available online and from Amazon.




Tony Caballero, Fanbase Press Contributor



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