#80 - The Coffin

The prospect of eternal life has suckered many a poor fool into doing something stupid. First, take every vampire ever created. They're drawn in by the idea of living forever, but they never think about the long term. What happens after thousands of years of being alive? After you've watched every series of 24 ten-times over? It must get boring. Secondly, think about the Nazis in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They were pulled toward the Grail like moths to a naked flame, and look how that went. Most of them fell into a crack in the earth.

In The Coffin, Dr. Ashtar Ahmad is another man searching for a means of living forever. It has been a lifelong quest for him, something that has occupied his every waking hour. And guess what? He actually pulls it off; the doctor creates a suit that allows the souls of the dead to go on living. Great news! Whoa, not so fast there. An evil billionaire (is there any other kind?) is hell bent on acquiring the doctor's amazing research, and he ends up kidnapping the doctor's daughter.

A work of speculative fiction, The Coffin is a thoughtful look at life after death, and what happens to a soul that is kept around longer than it should be. It is a meaningful mediation on what it means when the body dies but the essence of person lives on, and it mixes this deep subject matter with an enticing story. You may have read ten graphic novels or you may have read a hundred, but I can guarantee you haven't read anything as original as The Coffin. It is a story that avoids clich├ęs, moves along quickly, gives you great characters and actually has something to say.

Now, when writing entries for this list, I often find myself drawn to talking about film versions of the books. It's partly because if someone wants to make a movie out of a comic, there is usually a good reason. Maybe the story is one that needs to be told is as many mediums as possible, or perhaps the characters can't be contained on paper. The Coffin is no exception from film rumours; in fact, James Cameron's film studios bought the rights to it. A film version hasn't surfaced yet, but you should keep your eyes peeled. Until then, do yourself a big favour and buy the book.

Read The Coffin: US Readers   UK Readers

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