PTSD is a graphic novel created by Guillaume Singelin, and published by First: Second, that follows the journey of a traumatized war veteran struggling with homelessness and addiction. Can Singelin make such a serious topic fresh and engaging to new readers?
Not every story needs to adhere to the Hero’s Journey model, but PTSD would have benefited from doing so. The entire graphic novel plays out like the first act. Characters are introduced and the status quo is established but the stakes aren’t raised significantly from when the book began. Jun doesn’t have a clear objective, antagonist or a time limit when she needs to achieve her goal. Because of this lack of plot there isn’t much tension.
Singelin’s artwork is superb. The simple, yet gritty, characters are easily discernible from each other and it remains clear who Jun is even when she’s in disguise or in a flashback.
The pacing is moody and there’s a lot of nonverbal storytelling to let the art shine through. It’s a very complete vision with everything from the watercolors to the crisp lettering style complementing each element.
PTSD will probably appeal to readers who enjoy more low key slice-of-life stories. Personally, I am not one of those readers and I found that the low stakes left a story with very little impact. However, I do think that Guillaume Singelin’s art is a vision like no other in the Western market. I would gladly see more work from him if paired with a stronger story.