Signal to Noise tells the story of a nameless film director who is dying of cancer. Struggling with the idea that he only has a couple of months left, the director debates over writing his final script; the script & the film that he has been wanting to make for years. He storyboards the magnum opus in his head & eventually writes the film, knowing that he won't see the finished product. In the end, he states that he feels better, not because his cancer has remitted, but because he came to terms with his immortality, because "the world is always ending for someone."
Neil Gaimen wrote Signal to Noise & the artwork was by Gaiman's frequent collaborator, Dave McKean. The novel doesn't really have a clear plot center; the story often goes in & out of the director's head as he plans out the film, which is about villagers in the year 999 a.d. who think that the world will end at the start of the new millennium. The narrative juxtaposes conversations the director has with those closest to him along with the narrative of the screenplay.
McKean's artwork is something to behold in this work. It is often a collage of painting, drawing, photographs & digital art & contains many visual metaphors that go along with the narrative. McKean, for the most part, keeps the panels, which breaks up the images. Each page is its own artwork, but the panels become a piece on their own.
Signal to Noise is heady, cerebral, & expressive. I think it is flawed of me to call it a narrative, but rather a reading of an emotion. It shouldn't be viewed as a graphic novel, but as graphic poetry, where you read it & consider the works possibilities.