100 Days in Uranium City
Ariane Dénommé, 144 pgs, Conundrum Press, conundrumpress.com, $18
This book presents a bleak tale of man (yes, specifically man, as it is a very male-centered story) and his struggle against an ancient, horrible nemesis: shitty jobs. Taking place mostly in a 70s mining town, 100 Days in Uranium City is a realistic look at the daily struggles of mine workers.
Before leaving town for his first lengthy shift at Uranium City, Daniel reassures his girlfriend, Carole, that “a hundred days sounds long, but it’ll go by fast.” Unfortunately for the gentlemen stuck working in the mines, every day is a horrible, repetitive slog.
The artwork (all rendered in greyscale pencil tones) is fairly simplistic, though the characters each have unique and memorable looks. I particularly liked the visual design of Richard, who appears as though he just came out of a certain yellow submarine. I found the character designs to be quite charming, almost cute, though never to the point where they seemed overly cartoonish or out of place in the serious storyline.
I quite liked the background art as well, ranging from peaceful forest and river scenes to the dark and claustrophobic mine interior, the worker’s helmet lights providing the only source of illumination in the gloomy caves.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed this book. It offers a glimpse into a very specific lifestyle, career and time in history that I have not often read about in graphic novels. 100 Days in Uranium City is worth reading for a peek into this harsh, lonely way of life.