Victory Point by Owen D. Pomery
Victory Point is the kind of place that people dream of living in. Designed to be the perfect meeting of form and function, with cool, sleek modernist buildings. The needs of the population both materially and culturally are taken into account. The perfect dwelling place and a dream place to grow up. But life isn’t a dream, no matter how lovely the surroundings you are raised in.
Ellen lives in the ‘big city’ – trying to get ahead in the tough world of book retailing, working for a chain and dreaming of something more. But she once called Victory Point home. Returning to visit her ageing father she reflects on her life – what lay behind and what lies ahead.
The depiction of the town of Victory Point in this book is breathtaking. Sleek art deco lines represented in every element of the town. Even the trains that call into the station are beautiful and could be straight from the pages of Tintin (most of Hergé’s art is great of course, but Tintin is worth reading for the vehicles alone). Owen D. Pomeroy has a background in architecture and is the author of a previous book on the subject for Avery Hill – Between the Billboards & the Authoring of Architecture and this experience can be seen throughout the book.
The cool aesthetic of the town of Victory Point is reflected in the colour palette of cool cream, blue, green and yellow. Boldly defined and largely flat colours within strongly inked outlines.
The strong precise lines and clear bold colours associate Victory Point with the ligne claire style. One interpretation of ligne claire is that it is associated with a worldview that sees the world as legible and this stylistic choice emphasises the utopian vision of the creators of Victory Point.1
Ah, kids will be kids, why should they care about the past? They just want to shape the future. Or they should anyway.Victory Point
The contrast between this idealistic view of the town and the reality of the normal and rather provincial people who live there brings us to the key theme of the book – how the messy reality of our personal hopes and ambitions fit into the idealised framework that we are told to fit into. The town of Victory Point was not the successful project that its creators had hoped for. The full vision for the site was never realised.
Ellen feels this clash personally. She has a wistful nostalgia for her home but is restless and knows she could not settle there no matter how perfect the society is. When she goes to a favourite bathing spot for a naked swim she feels a sense of calm, of being at ease. But these are not necessarily things that inspire us, that drive us and make us strike out. Home is nice but not always an environment that engenders creativity.
Victory Point is a beautiful book that perfectly evokes both nostalgia for home and our natural impulse to break free and be independent. I read my copy on PDF but will strive to get a print version as I want to pore over the illustrations at my leisure. I can recommend a visit to Victory Point. How long you stay is up to you.
Victory Point is available now from Avery Hill.
- Reading Bande Dessinée. Critical Approaches to French-language comic Strip. Ann Miller Intellect, 2007