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Midnight Sun Paperback – January 8, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: SLG Publishing (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593620888
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593620882
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,294,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At first the facts sound like an alternative history concept, but the basics are true: in May 1928, an Italian airship on its way back from exploring the North Pole (where the crew had dropped an Italian flag and a cross blessed by the pope) crashed before lifting off again with part of its crew. The ship disappeared forever, leaving nine crewmen stranded on the ice. Weeks later, after a massive international search followed intently by world newspapers, eight of the men were rescued by a Russian icebreaker. Towle's cleanly illustrated tale adds impact to these events first by inventing a gin-soaked New York reporter (was there any other kind?) with a need to prove himself and sticking him on the icebreaker heading north. More intriguing, though, is Towle's imagining of what the airship's crew goes through on the ice, arguing over whether to search for land (drifting ever further away) or stay still and wait for rescue, though the ice appears to be cracking. Somewhat too brief but vividly imagined, this is high-quality graphic historical fiction, bringing an obscure but colorful page of history to dramatic life. Suitable for young teens. (Dec.)
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Review

His sparse linework does wonders in portraying stark, arctic climes, and his use of grays gels flawlessly to transform his otherwise barren outlines into smoggy, urban settings. The dialogue is spot-on and the characters expressions are gleefully readable ... a masterful work of historical fiction by a soon to be established champion of the field. --Dave Baxter, Broken Frontier

At first the facts sound like an alternative history concept, but the basics are true: in May 1928, an Italian airship on its way back from exploring the North Pole (where the crew had dropped an Italian flag and a cross blessed by the pope) crashed before lifting off again with part of its crew. The ship disappeared forever, leaving nine crewmen stranded on the ice. Weeks later, after a massive international search followed intently by world newspapers, eight of the men were rescued by a Russian icebreaker. Towle's cleanly illustrated tale adds impact to these events first by inventing a gin-soaked New York reporter (was there any other kind?) with a need to prove himself and sticking him on the icebreaker heading north. More intriguing, though, is Towle s imagining of what the airship s crew goes through on the ice, arguing over whether to search for land (drifting ever further away) or stay still and wait for rescue, though the ice appears to be cracking. Somewhat too brief but vividly imagined, this is high-quality graphic historical fiction, bringing an obscure but colorful page of history to dramatic life. Suitable for young teens. --Publishers Weekly, 12/24/07

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles Finch on February 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Midnight Sun, about a group of stranded Italian airmen near the North Pole and the reporters and sailors tracking them, is fascinating and well-drawn; small gestures fill out even passing characters, and there's comedy in nearly every frame, even when the tone is somber. But the book could have used ten more pages, if not for further explanation than at least for a fuller picture of our characters' lives, and its ending felt abrupt, if apposite.
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Format: Paperback
Ben Towle's graphic novel Midnight Sun is a work of historical fiction set in the Prohibition era that tells the true story of the ill-fated airship the Italia's Arctic expedition. The book focuses on the rescue efforts of a Russian icebreaker called the Krassin, searching for survivors after the blimp crashes near the North Pole.

The aforementioned events are factual, and Towle documents the painstaking research he did into the story in an afterword. But in that brief essay, he also freely admits that the book blurs fiction with reality in that the story's main character, an American reporter named H.R. who is placed onboard the Krassin to get the scoop on what happened, never actually existed. This character simply serves as a narrative device to draw us into the story.

Still, despite his role in the story being entirely made up, H.R. still feels real to us because Towle does his best to show us the personal drama in this tragedy. On the ship, H.R. is often left helpless due to the language barrier between himself and the ship's Russian crew. He does make a few friends, however, including another journalist, a Russian woman whose fiancé was one of the Italia's missing crew. H.R. is drawn to comfort her in her time of hardship, and gradually he finds himself more and more attracted to her. All of these emotions are conveyed beautifully by Towle in the merest of moments and glances, and these events help us to fully comprehend the cost of this accident.

As the events on the ship slowly unfold, Towle cuts back and forth between those scenes and scenes that show the fate of the Italia's crew, trapped on the ice for weeks without food or water.
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Format: Paperback
Ben Towle does some very interesting stuff with this lesser known historical event. The storytelling is paced beautifully and the art 'feels' right for the subject matter - a nice blend of 'real' and 'comic-book' imagery. I highly recommend this book. Last note - the size is lovely and it somehow makes the book feel like a collector's item.
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