See the private thoughts of other people.


How would you like the ability to see another person’s secret thoughts? Even if it is a fictional person. This is the basis of a graphic novella called SVK (special viewing kit). The small paperback is written by Warren Ellis with art by Matt “D’Israeli” Brooker, foreword by William Gibson, and published by the London design firm BERG (Jack Schulze). Their publicity describes the book as “a story about cities, technology, and surveillance, mixed with human themes of the power, corruption and lies that lurk in the data-smog of our near-future.”

Warren Ellis and D’Israeli, SVK. Foreword by William Gibson ([London]: BERG, 2011). Book and UV flashlight. Graphic Arts GAX 2012- in process.

The trick comes when the detective story is illuminated with a small ultraviolet light (included with the book) and the secret thoughts of various characters appear. More than a gimmick, the invisible text moves the plot along, exposing character strengths and weaknesses you wouldn’t otherwise know.

The leading character is a security consultant named Thomas Woodwind. “A man of six feet or so, quite lean, with a good Patrick Stewart-ish skull fuzzed with very short pale hair. Paranoid eyes. Tending to very long black coats, with poacher’s pockets sewn on the inside. A bluetooth earpiece cupping each ear. Black gloves - no fingerprints, reduction of epithelials.”

Also included is a short essay by comic historian Paul Gravett on the history of the word balloon, as well as at least one ultraviolet advertisement. I wonder if you get a discount for advertising in invisible ink?