The Trial of Roger Casement Graphic novel review

TORC3Sir Roger Casement was a campaigner and advocate of Human rights and Irish freedom. He stood up to the evils of Leopold II and his activity in Congo and was finally knighted for his work in Southern and Central Africa were he worked to better the lives of many of the poorest and harshest treated by colonial rule. However as he became an enemy of the state for his views, he became vilified in England and his support for a free Ireland lead to the press calling for his knighthood to be removed. Casement was tried and allegations were brought about his private and public life, his visits to Germany (an enemy country) during the First World War that was still ongoing and his friends in the Independent Irish movement.

TORC5Fionnuala Doran has crafted for me, one of the greatest graphic novel books about the injustice of British colonialism and the headache of empire. I have ever read many works of historical importance that develop ideas of colonial miscarriages of justice. This takes the world of those involved and layers it with substance. It gives Casement a retrial, a court of appeal standing that is just and fair but also humane and politically charged.

TORC4Casements final weeks are weaved with great insight into his life. Doran gives us visual metaphor and verbal resonance. The piece is not only factually accurate, compelling and a study in balanced story telling, it is also deeply felt and personal. Casement is made a man of flesh and sexuality. He becomes a man that desires for change and body but also justice. I felt it so powerful in its use of visual harmony and written narrative that it occasionally is too much. You have to pull away from the world as its strokes hit you and tears welled. I am one that always commits to a piece but this was so natural because its characters not only a re real but they are made flesh. All is done with grace and you never feel emotionally forced or coerced into positions. I will beg you to read this book, it should be seen by many and far. It is a story of a man wronged but a man that did so much right. He stood for what was freedom and rights of those in a position of none. He did it and lost his life standing for them and this book does that a service that is worthy of much praise.


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