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Mr. Lightbulb (Paperback)
In this electrifying graphic novel debut, Polish animator and cartoonist Wojtek Wawszczyk uses magical realism to tell a moving tale of finding light in a life full of darkness.
Mirroring the world we live in, the protagonist of this graphic novel comes from a broken home. However, in this case, the term is quite literal. Due to freak accidents at the steelworks where his parents work, his mom is snapped, his dad is flattened. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, one day, he suffers his own life-changing experience: mistakenly swallowing a glob of molten metal gives him the strange power to radiate heat and light — like a lightbulb. As he grows up, evolving from Bulb Boy to Mr. Lightbulb, he finds that his unique abilities can be a curse and a blessing; while they alienate him from others, they also allow him to shine.
At once surrealist, comedic, heartbreaking, bitterly sarcastic, and deeply sincere, Mr. Lightbulb is an essential work of comics autobio. With bold, expressive ink strokes and brilliant use of visual metaphor, Wojtek Wawszczyk renders an affecting self-portrait, as his protagonist balances challenging family dynamics with his creative ambitions and desire to forge his way in the world. This book, which clocks in at over 600 pages, combines a grand scope with brisk plotting, adding up to a tour de force of artistry and honesty.
About the Author
Wojtek Wawszczyk (b. Cieszyn, Poland, 1977) is a director, screenwriter, animator, and artist. He is the creator of the award-winning animated films Headless, Mouse, and Penguin. He also worked as a special effects animator for the Oscar-nominated movie I, Robot. Wawszczyk co-directed the full-length animated feature George the Hedgehog. Since 2011, he has been one of the leaders of the Human Ark animation studio in Warsaw. He currently works as a screenwriter and director and is in the process of completing another full-length feature, Diplodocus. He lives in Warsaw, Poland.
Antonia Lloyd-Jones has translated works by many of Poland's leading contemporary novelists, including Nobel Prize-winner Olga Tokarczuk, Jacek Dehnel, Mariusz Szczygiel, and Artur Domoslawski. She has been an advisor for the Emerging Translator Mentorship Program and co-chair of the UK Translators Association. In 2018, she was honored with Poland's Transatlantyk Award for the most outstanding promoter of Polish literature abroad.
A marvelous debut. ... This masterful and darkly comic epic finds the all-too-human reality in its fantastical inventions.
— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Wawszczyk’s phenomenally dynamic pages turn swiftly, revealing an Everyperson’s struggle to live life fully despite persistent obstacles and setbacks. Narratively and artistically, Wawszczyk shines.
— Booklist (Starred Review)
Wojtek Wawszczyk’s autobiographical graphic novel uses the potential of the medium very effectively, like no other debut. I have not read anything so fresh, funny and sad at the same time.
A moving story about growing up, a difficult relationship with family and searching for one’s place in the world.
— Radoslaw Czyz - Ksiazki Magazine
An outstanding comic book. At times, chokingly sad, affecting the feelings of total loneliness and helplessness. … At times so warm and joyful that it literally shines in your hands. Bravo!
— Michal Oleszczyk - rogerebert.com