This week I had SVK delivered, a comic by Warren Ellis and Matt “D’Israeli” Brooker.  As well as being what seems like a standard detective comic, SVK is an experiment in design by the BERG group.  The comic comes with a blacklight for finding bodily fluid secretions on the kitchen table reading text otherwise hidden within the comic.  I haven’t started reading it yet, but I think that the hidden parts will generally be the thoughts of the characters.  SVK stands for Special Viewing Kit.  It’s used by the detective(s) in the story.  So essentially the user is provided with a similar instrument as the characters: a device for finding hidden details.

The question I have is: how does one read SVK?  There’s no right or wrong answer of course, but I wonder how people will approach the blacklight use.  Will they use it as they go?  Will they read a page, then go back and scan it with the torch?  Will they take in the entire story, then go back through looking for tidbits and hidden character motivation?  Or will they start out using the torch, then fire it as it interferes with their reading rhythm?

I often get so caught up in a comic’s storyline I neglect to fully explore and appreciate the artwork.  Sometimes it’s only on second reads that I realise just how good the artwork is, or I notice some reference in the illustration.  So with SVK I imagine that I’ll try to read through while using the torch, then get rid of it until I’ve finished the story.  Then comb through it again, illuminating the character’s thoughts.  That was all I wanted to say, yet it has taken nigh-300 words to say so.


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