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Warren Ellis & D’Israeli Reinvent the Thought Bubble in Ultraviolet Comic Book ‘SVK’

On sale now is SVK by Warren Ellis and Matt “D’Israeli” Brooker, a new detective story that’s particularly remarkable not just because of the typically superlative work of both creators but also because of the technology the book employs. SVK uses an invisible ultraviolet ink to conceal the inner monologues of its characters, and the 40-page book comes with a UV light source to illuminate the modern version of the comic book thought bubble.

SVK was devised by BERG, a London-based design studio who also publish the book. BERG approached Ellis with the project, and he in turn recruited his old Lazarus Churchyard collaborator D’Israeli to help him create Tom Woodwind, the English detective who reads people’s minds. Set in a version of London that’s especially paranoid and obsessive about surveillance and information, SVK is, according to a post on Ellis’ blog, an uncommonly challenging but ultimately satisfying project.

SVK was the hardest thing I’ve written in years. I think it’s also the best thing I’ve written in a few years. And, without offense to my other collaborators, I’ve known and worked with Matt for twenty years, and that means that not only does stuff appear on the page exactly as I imagined it would, but that it’ll also be better than I imagined it.

At some point, once the book’s circulated a bit, I’ll talk about the horrible technical difficulties Matt solved without breaking step. Suffice it to say that this book very probably would not have happened at all if Matt Brooker had not been onboard.


SVK is £10/$16 for 40 pages and the SVK object (“Special Viewing Kit” and available only via mail order from BERG. The book also comes with an introduction by the legendary science fiction author William Gibson and essays by futurist Jamais Cascio and comics historian Paul Gravett.

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