The Trees That Divide Us: How Visual Language Presents the Theme of Economic Disparity in “Trees”


Trees by Ellis (2016) and illustrated by Howard (2016) reimagines the metaphor of an alien invasion in the form of a comic book series through its unique view of a post-apocalyptic narrative—ten years after they landed, these aliens did nothing, standing on the earth’s surface, like trees. This comic book is an introspection of the human condition years after a horrific event—the characters in this world have been dealing with this situation for a decade. This presented Ellis and Howard many issues to explore in the series such as economic disparity. Because the comic book genre is a unique medium, this also gave the creators a challenging task to not only explore these issues from a literary perspective, but from a visual perspective as well. This paper does a close reading of the various elements of comic book art such as paneling, framing and the use of color, and how writer Warren Ellis and illustrator Jason Howard used these to present the theme of economic disparity in Trees. By looking at these elements, this paper posits that complex social themes, such as the theme chosen in this paper, economic disparity, can be revealed through the combination of the literary and visual language that the comic book medium can offer.

Author Information
Javier Antonio G. Laurel, Lyceum of the Philippines University - Cavite, Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2024
Stream: Arts - Literary Arts Practices

This paper is part of the IICAH2024 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Laurel J. (2024) The Trees That Divide Us: How Visual Language Presents the Theme of Economic Disparity in “Trees” ISSN: 2432-4604 – The IAFOR International Conference on Arts & Humanities – Hawaii 2024 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon