In the year 1884, ex-miner and newly aspiring cyclist Thomas Stevens set out to bicycle around the world, being the first person to do so. In 1889, a vivacious, spunky and independent reporter, Nellie Bly, decided to travel around the world in seventy-two days, challenging the well known fictional journey of Phileas Fogg from Jules Verne’s Around The World in Eighty Days. In 1895, former sea captain and sailor Joshua Slocum ventured on the ship titled the Spray with the hope to become the first person to sail around the world. Around The World by Matt Phelan follows three remarkable and epic adventures in a colorful, vivid, and charming graphic novel form. A wonderful book for those impartial to and easily bored with history, and also great for any history lover who enjoys a new take on historical events.
Around The World by Matt Phelan was a magnificent and articulate read. The graphics were picturesque and expressive in a sketchy way, with almost cinematic angles. Matt Phelan’s particular style painted beautiful watercolor scenarios of these three separate adventurers’ experiences. Even without considering the dialogue, this story contains many art pieces worth marveling at. I have admired Phelan’s work for quite some time, including but not limited to another of his graphic novels, The Storm in the Barn. Being an individual who finds history fascinating, along with greatly appreciating different styles of artwork, I was swept away with the authors efforts on this graphic novel.
My personal favorite was Nellie Bly’s story. She seemed to be a rather intriguing reporter, challenging some of the many gender roles that existed in her era. A quote that she repeats throughout the graphic novel is “If you want to do it, you can do it. The question is: Do you want to do it?” and I think that this very precisely represents what makes these three adventures so inspirational. These three different individuals possessed the same determination and strive. This book was exceedingly educational and led me to research Bly’s, Stevens’, and Slocum’s lives more thoroughly.
I thoroughly enjoyed Phelan’s interpretation. I think that he offered a different perspective on Stevens’, Bly’s, and Slocum’s stories that can not be found in any other rendition. The author added a unique view of their journeys, focusing on their motivations. I think that this personal and imaginative approach makes the story more intimate and capturing to the reader. Around The World efficiently binds these three intrepid historical figures together, forming an entertaining, engrossing, and evocative book of determination and adventure. I was highly impressed with this read and would most definitely recommend it!