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Tuesday 10 March 2015

✍ Clockwork City: Hinges [Book One] - Meredith McClaren

Genre: Manga & Graphic Novels
Published by Diamond Book Distributors - Image Comics
Number of pages: 112
My rating: ★ ★ ★   I liked it
About the author

"HINGES is a fantasy webcomic, turned graphic novel, about a doll named Orio and her troubling companion Bauble.  New to the city of Cobble, Orio must depend on help where ever she can find it, but her assigned familiar Bauble has other interests.  And as the two explore the walls of their city, they find that they are not the only new arrivals. In a place that runs like clockwork, it only takes a little disruption to upend a city."

Hinges Book One: Clockwork City was first serialised on the author's blog, Hinges.  This publication compiles the first book in the series, where some boards have been revised and improved.

This is one of those works that need to be read twice to be fully comprehended and appreciated.  The artwork is beautiful, but as the author builds up the tension in the story, some boards are quite difficult to understand without knowing what you are meant to be seeing, which unfortunately makes this work rather confusing and difficult to understand to begin with.
Dialogue is very sparse, and the main character, Orio, pretty much does not utter a single word - her facial expressions (masterfully portrayed by the author) are all we need.

As Orio prepares to leave the factory (she is a mechanical doll) and is introduced to her new life, she appears very lost and shy, Bauble, an odd (familiar), steps in from the very beginning to help her.  The seemingly troublesome character is the real hero of this story, as something dark lurks in the city of Cobble.

This is a promising beginning to the series, worth persevering with, and definitely something that will work best in printed format.  If you are reading a digital copy, please be aware that pages 40 and 41 are meant to be a double spread (i.e. they need to be viewed next to each other).

The second book in the series, "Paper Tigers", is available online in full.
The third book, "Mechanical Men", is currently being serialised, with updates on Mondays and Fridays.

[ARC received via Netgalley]

About the Author

Meredith McClaren is an illustrator and cartoonist who has no business doing either.

She sometimes entertains the idea of drawing the fourth book in Jen Van Meter’s Hopeless Savages series.  And her journal comic Scraps indulges her closeted narcissism.

Supposedly she has a postal code in Arizona, but really, she could be anywhere.

Oh. And don’t touch her stuff. Seriously.

Find Meredith McClaren at and at

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