Saturday, 29 December 2012

Sarah and the Seed – an online comic by Ryan Andrews

I have a great deal of affection for Sarah and the Seed. Not only is this story beautifully drawn and told but it was also the first online comic I saw and it was such a revelation – I had no idea that such wonderful things existed on the internet and for free too!

I love Sarah's expression in the frame above – it captures so many of her feelings.

Sarah and the Seed is the poignant story of an elderly childless couple who wish for a family. When Sarah announces that she is pregnant and then gives birth to a seed that she plants in their garden Aaron fears that his wife may have been driven mad by her desperation for a baby... but then Aaron's anxious support of Sarah's charmingly dotty optimism pays off. Read the full story here.

Ryan Andrews is immensely talented and imaginative – there are several more comics on his website and he also has a blog in which he goes into a lot of detail about his work practices. I'll be looking out for more of his work in the future.

Both images have been used here with the kind permission of Ryan Andrews.

Habibi – a graphic novel by Craig Thompson

My first introduction to Craig Thompson’s books was the heartbreakingly beautiful story of love – Blankets. Though I had not heard of Habibi before as soon as I became aware that Comica had arranged a conversation with Marcel Theroux to launch this book in London I snapped up a ticket and was one of the first in line to buy it on the night.

Every page is incredibly detailed and 
beautifully drawn.
Habibi just blows me away. For a start it is huge – 672 pages – I have a hard back version and it is quite a substantial weight. I bought the book in winter 2012 and ended up waiting until the weather warmed up so that I could sit up properly to read it in bed (my favourite reading place) without getting cold.

Habibi is truly an epic story. It’s main thread is the development of the relationship between the two main characters – Dodola and Zam (aka Habibi) as Zam grows from baby to man. Around this central theme of two sometimes separated but still intertwined lives, the pages loop through history and time via Dodola’s magical stories that encompass religion, numbers, calligraphy and much more. Dodola and Zam live in a harsh and abusive world, this is not a book for children, but their love for each other shines through the darkness and leads them to an ending that is delicately optimistic.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been at the London launch of Habibi. Not least because I had the opportunity to speak to Craig while he drew a picture of Dodola for me – he was extraordinarily generous with his time.

My only regret is that I only bought one book at the launch. Drats – I could have had a signed copy of Blankets as well! I am hoping that Craig Thompson will visit London again to launch his next book so that I can remedy this situation.

Friday, 28 December 2012

His Face all Red – an online comic by Emily Carroll

Emily Carroll is a recent discovery for me and all I know about her has come from her website but she is a wonderful example of the generosity and creativity of online comics makers.

I recommend that you visit the comics page of her website. All of her stories are good but His Face all Red is my favourite. It is beautifully designed and every time I view it I am struck by her skill with character dynamics and facial expressions. I won't speak about the story because I wouldn't want to spoil it for you but prepare yourself to be spooked.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas and all that

This blog isn't quite ready but please come back soon and I promise there will be proper posts bulging with interest and information – though you may have to wait until after christmas.

In the meantime perhaps you could tell me what you are currently reading. I've got The Great Unwashed by Gary and Warren Pleece plus Will Eisner's Comics and Sequential Art next up on my pile of books, I'll speak more of both another time.

Happy Holidays to all of you!