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Every Waking Moment by Jeff Dyer and Steve Ott

01/08/2012. Contributed by Andy Whitaker

Buy Every Waking Moment in the USA - or Buy Every Waking Moment in the UK

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pub:Arcana Comics. 207 page graphic novel/pdf version. Price: $19.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-926914-24-4).

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The first thing I do with a graphic novel is look at the cover to see if the subject matter is appealing and if I like the artistic style. The second thing is to flip it over to read the story description on the back. Sounds simple and it is with the physical product but surprisingly difficult with the electronic version of the novel. The back cover is invariably the last page of the electronic version which means you have to skip over all the content to read the story description. Why can't publishers make the back cover the second page of the electronic version?

Now I have got my moaning out of the way, it's time to look at 'Every Waking Moment', which is another good graphic novel from Arcana Studio. The writer was Jeff Dyer with Steve Ott the artist. Colours were by Dusklight and Todd Raynor and Josh Gorfain did the lettering. Phil Hester is credited with the cover but I'm not quite sure what this entails. Did he do any or all of the artwork, the lettering, the colouring of the cover? It's quite a good cover that depicts the two main characters of the novel. Firstly, we have the feisty reporter Emma Troy who is also a single Mom and, secondly, we have billionaire and entrepreneur Grant Auden with a falling angel separating the two.

The story concerns the development by Grant Auden's company of a medical procedure that allows people to remain awake forever. The procedure called The Wake-Up Call eliminates the need for sleep using a combination of drug therapy, conditioning and the implanting of a device directly into the brain to act as an artificial circadian pacemaker. By eliminating sleep, people are gaining another eight hours of time to be productive or enjoy themselves. This seemed to be too good to me and as it turns out there are indeed side effects.

In order to gain acceptance and to publicise the procedure, Grant Auden has managed to persuade the local group of super-heroes, the Idealists, to be the first to undergo the Wake-Up Call. Everything seems to be fine and the Idealists manage to expand their do-good endeavours to twenty-four-by-seven but then strange things start to happen. In fact, the novel starts with a strange event when a very tired Emma Troy returning late to work witnesses a knight in shining armour on a horse being hit by a bus. Not something you normally see in the morning rush hour. Being a reporter, Emma investigates and finds that the knight is actually a young woman making the incident even more bizarre. It is when she crosses paths with Grant Auden though that the story really takes off. She manages to befriend Grant and gets first hand access to secrets behind the Wake-Up Call. It is after the initial meeting with Grant that Emma meets Dr. Hexom, who teaches classes on dream interpretation. The good doctor is worried that if a person does not sleep then they do not dream and if they do not dream then the dream will get out somehow.

There's not much more I can say about the plot without providing spoilers and this novel is worth the purchase price to read. It is a good story that shows Jeff Dyer as author has done his homework on sleep and dreams. The handful of normal human characters are believable personalities and add the story credibility. Perhaps the weakest area of the novel is the Idealists, the seven super-heroes who were the initial volunteers for the Wake-Up Call. They are simply there to dramatically highlight one of the possible side effects of not sleeping. As they are ancillary to the main cast, we don't know very much about them such as their powers, histories or alter egos if they have one. It would have been possible to do the story without them, but I suppose this being a graphic novel, super-heroes are expected to put in an appearance. Even with them in it, 'Every Waking Moment' is an entertaining and enjoyable read well worth the purchase price.

Andy Whitaker

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