Readers of The Lost Art

The Nightly News

July 10th, 2009

The Nightly News

Writer and artist: Jonathan Hickman

Reviewer: Louise

Synopsis from Amazon:

“As an act of violence spirals out of control to encompass the entirety of the news media, a cult has emerged from the errors and retractions that have ruined careers, marriages and even lives. Under direction from his cult master, The Hand leads an army of followers committed to revolution, willing to die for their cause.”


Both a tale of conspiracy and terrorism, and an rant against the state of news reporting in America, “The Nightly News” is a graphic novel unlike many others. Ostensibly, it’s about a man whose life was ruined by the television news – the Nightly News – and who joins a cult dedicated to bringing down those who work in it, killing news presenters and others working in the industry. At each turn, however, the author confronts us with various facts he’s collected on the state of the information industry in America in the form of endnotes. These are presented in the shape of numbers scattered through the book, which correspond to the endnotes at the end of the book. 

It’s an interesting way of presenting the book. You can either read it all the way through as a straight tale of one increasingly deranged man’s obsession as he becomes “The Hand” – the leader of the cause – or read the endnotes, which form an ongoing commentary on the events in the text. The only flaw with this is that the numbers are so small, it’s not always obvious that they are there. I was a third of the way into the book before I realised their existence.

Wisely, the author does not shirk from showing us the violence and suffering caused by the Hand and his followers. Though the facts are often shocking, we aren’t tempted to view them as the good guys. Instead, the author asks us “If this isn’t the way to solve the problem, what is?” The artwork, too, is impressive and distinctive.

My only complaint would be that the plot is a little convoluted. It may take a couple of goes to be sure you understand what’s going on. Then again, it makes a refreshing change to have to employ one’s brain to grasp what’s happening in a graphic novel; this isn’t mind-candy like so many others out there on the market. Recommended for anyone ready for a thought-provoking read who is willing to sit down and really get into it!


Paperback: 184 pages

Publisher: Image Comics (30 Jun 2007)

ISBN-10: 1582407665

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