A Review By: Amelia
First Nations culture has always fascinated me. There are so many different tribes and thousands of traditions and lore created by each one. Mythology within the First Nations is vast and amazing, which is originally what drew me to The Night Wanderer. When I discovered it was a novel (turned graphic novel, which is the adaption I’m doing this review on) that mashed up First Nations mythology with vampire lore, I devoured it within an hour.
Tiffany is a troubled sixteen year old Native girl. She lives on a reserve, has a white, cheating boyfriend, fights constantly with her father, and is freaked out that her estranged mother is starting a new life halfway across the country and is seemingly leaving her behind. Things don’t get any better when Tiffany’s father rents her room out to a mysterious Pierre L'Errant, a man who has a dreadful secret: he has returned home to reclaim his Native roots before facing the rising sun and certain death...
Drew Taylor is a Canadian playwright, author, and journalist. Taylor is part Caucasian and part Ojibwa and writes predominantly about First Nations culture. His writing includes plays, short stories, essays, newspaper columns, and film and television work. In 2004 he was appointed to the Ontario Ministry of Culture Advisory Committee and has been an artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts. He’s also taught at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and held writer-in-residence positions at the University of Michigan, The University of Western Ontario, and Ryerson University.The illustrator of The Night Wanderer graphic novel is Michael Wyatt, who’s been a freelance artist working primarily in book and magazine publishing. The Night Wanderer is his fourth book with his other works having been published in Kayak and Legion Magazines. His caricatures and stock art are available at artizans.com
Overall, The Night Wanderer is a character driven story, and the main character is Tiffany. She’s a mopey character filled with teenage angst (which is something everyone can connect to), but she’s also from the Hunter Clan and lives on a reserve. We see her coming of age while living in a broken family, being an outsider at school, and dating a white guy who seems to only be using her as a prop because she’s a Native. She’s a well-rounded character and in a world where adults often write teenagers as horny, flat, spoiled brats, or vapid, emotionless, monsters (literally, look at the young adult genre and its vampires and werewolves!) that’s really saying something. She has realistic weaknesses and drives and, yeah, she comes off as selfish teenage girl, but what teenager doesn’t come off selfish every now and again?
If such great character development, I have to say that I’m disappointed with the artwork. The The Night Wanderer graphic novel is definitely the art. The style that Wyatt uses is effective to getting the story across but it’s very blocky and static. There were some scenes where the character’s feelings just weren’t coming through because the art was just too stiff. It was a real shame considering that the story is so dependent on emotions coming across and, when it comes to graphic novels, the story really should be told through the artwork.weakest part of
If you’re looking for a unique coming-of-age story, look no further than The Night Wanderer. This story also has all the earmarks of a gothic novel: mystery and horror, with a little romance, a non-white point of view, and a bunch of teenage angst that nearly everyone can relate too. What’s really so interesting about this tale is that the vampire elements are not the main story. The vampire story is secondary, and that’s the real strength of the comic book.
My final thoughts on The Night Wanderer are that, ultimately, the book is about Pierre and Tiffany each facing a private crisis that they aren’t comfortable telling each other about, but through the course of the story, each of them finds a certain resolution that is satisfying to them and to us as readers. The Night Wanderer is a well-crafted tale and should not be passed over.