Graphic Novel

The Disappointing Game

imitationOttaviani, J., Purvis L. (2016). The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded (Kindle & comiXology). New York: Abrams ComicArts.

Several years ago I watched the movie “The Imitation Game” in theaters, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch. I enjoyed the movie both for the acting and the historical aspects. The blend of seeing a different side of World War II off of the battlefield and learning more about Alan Turing was delightful. Seeing geeks (like myself) utilizing their analytic abilities for the war effort was relatable. I was excited to get a better glimpse of Alan Turing’s life as the one of the most brilliant mathematicians to have lived, by now reading a graphic novel biography.

In reading this graphic novel for my Comic Book Club, I managed to finish it, but was deeply disappointed. While I was able to get a more in depth view of the timeline of his life, there were gaps. The void in the story was capturing his humanity. Despite some of the rather awful things to have happened in his life, his personal despair was only really clearly depicted in just one panel. After watching Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Alan Turing, the graphic novel version of his character did not do justice. While he was in fact like a human computer with his brilliant mathematical mind, I doubt he operated like the robot depicted.

Despite my overall disappointment, I do have a few positives for both the writer and the author of this book. Despite the change of character narration or bouncing of location, I was able to keep up with the story easily. The color palette was simplistic and easy on the eyes with its smooth pastel tones. As notated as well by one of my Comic Book Club friends, the math depicted is done in great detail.

As for getting a further glimpse of the details of Alan Turing’s life, this graphic novel was a disappointment. To learn more about this brilliant man and his struggles (that need to be told), I recommend watching the movie to get a synopsis and then perhaps reading a traditional text only biography.

Colette Molteni
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