Published in Politis Newspaper on 14 November 2010




Review by Chris Le Galle from Wicked Comics (Malta)

Graphic Novel (wordless)
Publisher: INDEX: Research and Dialogue
Text by Yiouli Taki and David Officer
Art by Christopher Malapitan
Colour by Anna Photiadou

This book is a first for me on a variety of levels. It’s the first graphic novel I’ve read that was created and published in Cyprus, it’s the first graphic novel I’ve read which does not have a single line of dialogue, it’s the first graphic novel I’ve read which is based on true stories and through it I’ve learned for the first time that Cyprus has a human trafficking problem.

At first I was a tad apprehensive reviewing a book without dialogue, but any misconceptions I might have had were dispelled as soon as I started reading. This is largely thanks to Christopher’s distinct and clear sense of panelling. The clever use of micro panels to indicate motion helps the story to flow, and despite the lack of dialogue everything that happens in the graphic novel is very easily understood which is more than one can say for a large number of comic books. In fact although I never pictured myself saying this before, I firmly believe that this book would not have worked so well had dialogue been included.

The excellent panels are further enhanced by the intelligent use of colouring employed by Anna Photiadou. Bright colours bring to life happy emotions while the constant use of black background and dark layouts signify the turmoil experienced by the protagonist. If this book is anything to go by than Christopher Malapitan is certainly a creator to watch out for in the future.

Published by INDEX: Research and Dialogue, The Tunnel seeks to raise awareness about the human traffic king problem inCyprus, although unfortunately such a problem rears it’s ugly head in other countries as well. The female protagonist in the book represents the trials and tribulations experienced by a number of victims who had the courage to share their experiences with the creators of the book. Rather than getting tangled in the complexities of this issue the creators opted to tell a simple story highlighting the salient facts of the problem, and as a result the book is both informative and entertaining to read.

On the rear pages of the book Malapitan’s fantastic artwork is nicely complimented by a series of text explaining both the process involved in the creation of this book as well as focusing on the seriousness of the problem. Taki’s and Officer’s writing is sharp, strong, flowing and concise and together with Malapitan’s artwork contribute to the effectiveness of the graphic novel.

Since the primary role of this graphic novel is raising awareness it is not being sold but freely distributed. So anyone who wishes to bag himself a copy is kindly requested to contact Christopher Malapitan on cmalapitan[at]yahoo.com or visit the blog: https://heruntoldstory.wordpress.com. I strongly recommend that you do because its not every day that a graphic novel of such a standard is available for free.

Christopher Malapitan will be attending the Malta Comic Con 2011, so if you want to learn more about the comics scene inCyprus, or simple obtain a copy of The Tunnel make sure to join him!

Lambiek Comics Book Store in Amsterdam has added me to their list of artists


Now available in Nicosia, CYPRUS

Graphic Novelists Expose Government Failure to Fight Trafficking

by Dana Liebelson for CHANGE November 04, 2010

The Tunnel, the first ever graphic novel published in Cyprus, doesn’t have any costumed vigilantes. Instead of a tool for entertainment, The Tunnel is a creative effort to expose weaknesses in the government’s anti-trafficking strategy. Cyprus is currently failing to live up to its responsibility to protect trafficking victims. But you can help the authors stop trafficking in Cyprus, and urge President Christofias Demetris to allot more money to victim support.

The Tunnel, which launched last week, is published by INDEX: Research and Dialogue, a non-profit that aims to promote public dialogue and shape policy in Cyprus. The protagonist is modeled off of extensive interviews INDEX conducted with real trafficking victims. One woman told the organization that after the police explained her right to social support and protection, she made the decision to testify against her abusers. But a year later, she left the country disillusioned by both the country’s failing support system and the lack of transparency among the judiciary. Continue Reading »

By Zoe Christodoulides Published in CYPRUS MAIL on November 7, 2010

The story is unnervingly familiar: a young attractive woman gets caught up in the trafficking web as she attempts to escape the injustices that haunt her. But the very fact that almost everyone who takes a glimpse at her story knows that scenarios like this happen all the time here in Cyprus makes the phenomenon all the more disturbing.

“This story ought to be much less common than it is. Every now and then we catch sight of yet more evidence that the victims of trafficking are perhaps more numerous than we care to admit,” argues Yiouli Taki, brainchild behind a new book focusing on the victims of human trafficking on the island. Senior Researcher of local NGO, Index: Research and Dialogue, the nature of her work saw her team up with colleague David Officer to bring some of their findings to light in the graphic novel The Tunnel.

Step in Christopher Malapitan who put all their thoughts on paper with colourful, eye-catching illustrations. “I suppose we opted for an animated book with more images than words because we wanted to avoid speaking to people in a didactic manner,” says Yiouli. With pictures that may speak louder than words, younger crowds in particular are far more likely to embrace this formula. Continue Reading »