Historic Georgetown Steam Plant powers graphic novel

Artist team David Lasky and Mairead Case selected to create novel

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with Seattle City Light has selected David Lasky and Mairead Case to create a fictionalized graphic novel about the historic Georgetown Steam Plant.

Built in 1906, the Georgetown Steam Plant advanced industrial architecture in its time through the early use of reinforced concrete employed on a massive scale. The steam plant was the result of forward-thinking in its turbine generator design that greatly increased power generation capability across the nation, and in turn influenced modern power generators. This project offers the opportunity to bring Seattle history to life, as demonstrated through the development and use of this building.

“We are thrilled to have David Lasky and Mairead Case create a story grounded in the experiences of the people and significance of the steam plant’s history,” says Lynn Best, Chief Environmental Officer Seattle City Light. “Their narrative will reach beyond Seattle and will tell the story of the historic plant as it transitions from retirement into a fully realized cultural space.”

West elevation exterior of engine room.
The Georgetown Steam Turbine Station, built in 1906 is now a National Historic Landmark. The plant is owned by Seattle City Light and has been working to restore the plant. It is open for tours the second Saturday of each month and is occasionally used as a teaching facility for steam power engineers and hobbyists.

Lasky and Case will write and illustrate a compelling fictionalized graphic novel that incorporates aspects of the Georgetown Steam Plant’s history. Lasky will serve as the illustrator and bring his skill as a comic book artist with fine art sensibilities. Case, serving as the writer, will develop storylines that bring in historical information with a fictionalized narrative to ignite wonder and joy about this special building. Both have works previously published including Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song, by Frank Young and David Lasky and See you in the Morning by Mairead Case.

Lasky and Case were selected from an open call inviting comic writers, artists, and illustrator teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia to apply. Seventy-one applications were reviewed by a selection panel that included Taneka Stotts, editor, comics artist, and creator of award winning anthologies; Kelly Froh, comics artist and co-founder of Short Run Comics and Arts Festival; and Larry Reid, Fantagraphics Bookstore Manager and President of the Georgetown Merchants Association.

The team will begin work immediately with in-depth research. As part of the project, they will be sharing progress throughout the next year in a combination of online updates on their blog at SteamPlantGraphicNovel and in-person events.

The finished book will be printed and made available free of charge through regional libraries, museums, and schools in 2019. The Georgetown Steam Plant graphic novel is commissioned by the Office of Arts & Culture and is funded by Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds.

Image: Photo of the Georgetown Steam Plan, by Ben Benschneider. Illustration: Single Girl panel from Carter Family: Don’t Forget this Song by Frank Young and David Lasky