‘I’m Not A Plastic Bag’: The Touching Journey of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
On sale now from Archaia is I’m Not A Plastic Bag, a truly remarkable graphic novel by Rachel Hope Allison that tells a fantastical yet extremely poignant story about the environment. The book, which features almost no text, imagines the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — the horrifyingly huge gyre of plastic and chemical debris that floats disgustingly in the Pacific Ocean — as an endearingly anthropomorphic character adrift and alone in a world beyond its control. The beautifully illustrated graphic novel is also part of a green initiative by which Archaia, partnered with JeffCorwinConnect, American Forests and Global ReLeaf, will plant two trees for every one used in manufacturing the book.
Illustrated in a mixed media style of painting, photographs and pencils, I’m Not A Plastic Bag opens with a series of images depicting disparate objects like bags, tires and bottles on their journey from possession to garbage. Kind of like Frankenstein’s monster, the refuse coalesces into a character with features we can recognize as eyes, a mouth and hands. The touching narrative gets quite appropriately grim, with this garbage-island-creature discovering that despite its intentions, it is a blight on the environment.
Besides the comics content, I’m Not A Plastic Bag comes with extra pages devoted to the unspeakably awful, real-life phenomenon of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known by cool sci-fi-style names like the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre and the Pacific Trash Vortex. Positioned in the waters between Hawaii and California, the vortex was created when human consumer waste met with the uniquely cyclical ocean winds and water currents of the region. More of an “archipelago of trash” than the island-like form seen in Allison’s comic, the vortex extends deep beneath the waters of the Pacific and is a major threat to ocean wildlife (and, consequently, to humans). The book comes with information on what readers can do to reduce pollution, as well as an index of species that are imperiled by such waste, like whales and various birds.
I’m Not A Plastic Bag is on sale now in finer comics shops and bookstores.