20 April 2012


Writer/artist Lauren Redniss came up with a beautiful, charming work expressing the tale of Marie and Pierre Curie -- Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout. It's part book, part art, sometimes described as a graphic novel...but if it is a graphic novel it is not the traditional form.

Redniss says on her site: "I made the artwork for the book using a process called “cyanotype.” Cyanotype is a camera‐less photographic technique in which paper is coated with light‐sensitive chemicals. When the chemically-treated paper is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it turns a deep blue color. Photographic imaging was critical to both the discovery of X-rays and of radioactivity, so it made sense to me to use a process based on the idea of exposure to create the images in Radioactive."

The result is astounding. (Link is to pictures of the artwork in Radioactive on Redniss's website.)

Redniss weaves the love story of Marie and Pierre with the far-reaching repercussions of their work: the atomic bomb, medicine, space exploration.

You have to read it slowly, due to the strange font, but that's ok. The slower pace means you take more time to puruse the strange artwork. Also, the font is relevant. Redniss says on her website"For the text, I designed a font based on the title pages of 18th and 19th Century manuscripts in the New York Public Library’s collections. It is named Eusapia LR for the croquet-playing, sexually ravenous Italian Spiritualist medium whose séances the Curies attended. Yup."

Also, the cover glows in the dark.

Now You!
What's your favorite graphic novel or art book?