Publisher First Second tends to operate in two modes: purveyor of hyper-inventive and often educational kids fare (books by Gene Luen Yang, Maris Wicks) and sophisticated adult genre and nonfiction —the comic equivalent of indie film havens like Magnolia Pictures and A24, whose works tend to fly under the radar until they storm best-of-the-year lists.
Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro’s Decelerate Blue appears to straddle both of those categories. From the publisher’s description, the graphic novel—out Valentine’s Day 2017—tackles some of Rapp’s favorite beats— malaise, isolation and an ever-distant hope—molded for a teen audience.
In a near-future dystopia where life goes a mile a minute and the populace is kept in a hyper-stimulated haze, teenaged Angela is the only person in her family who seems to think this isn’t a perfectly reasonable way to live. Soon she finds herself recruited into a resistance movement, where the key to rebellion is taking things slow.
In their secret underground hideout, Angela and her new friends create a life unplugged from the perpetually moving culture. Can they free the rest of the world before the powers that be shut down their utopian experiment?
Rapp’s work has largely been in YA novels and plays; he netted a Pulitzer nomination for Drama for his Red Light Winter script, a tale about desperate love. He also directed the 2005 Zooey Deschanel vehicle Winter Passing. This isn’t the writer’s first foray into sequential art, though; Ball Peen Hammer, an apocalyptic tale about a friends who hole up in an apartment to avoid a devastating plague, released in 2009 with artwork from George O’Conner.
Mike Cavallaro has previously illustrated First Second’s collaboration with Jane Yolen, Foiled and Curses! Foiled Again, as well as the J.M. DeMatteis-penned The Life and Times of Savior 28 and his own Eisner-nominated work, Parade (with Fireworks).
From his cover above, he’s nailing the mood coloring and us-against-them dystopia nicely.