Niklas Asker: Second Thoughts (Top Shelf)

In his first graphic novel—the result of his university thesis—Niklas Asker has created a colorless but emotionally vivid world existing somewhere between the real world and the authorial machinations of one Jess (no last name).

Novelist Jess first encounters photographer John in a haze of unoriginality. John snaps a frame of the girl and a brief exchange ensues. As brief as the moment is, Jess is suddenly inspired, and reality begins to dissipate into her imaginings of John’s life after he rushes off. The transitions are hard to spot as we begin to confuse Jess’s life and love with John’s.

Asker’s use of black and white throughout offers an expressive palette not always available to color. Each panel is brimming with motion and subtle gradation that sparks guided interpretation without commanding an unyielding conclusion.

The stories unfold and dissolve without disturbing much. Second Thoughts is understated and provocative, and—not surprisingly—lends itself well to a second reading.


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