Saturday, 23 January 2016

Graphic Passions: "Everything Is Teeth"

And what has been my own choice of graphic novel reading recently?

"Everything Is Teeth" - written by Anglo Australian writer Evie Wyld, with art work by illustrator/model-maker Joseph Sumner.

Part memoir, the story features child Evie, partially brought up on her grandparents's sugar cane farm in Australia, and Evie's obsession with sharks.

Now, I understand the obsession factor with things that penetrate our nightmares. I'm not too good on spiders (so I don't think I fancy Australia much where there are quite a lot of spiders and they really can kill you... Bbrrr!) Come to think of it, I'm not too good with sharks either, enough for any fear I might have had of going to sea to be more about the things in the deep that might eat me... than of drowning in the watery stuff. And in particular ... those sharks... those teeth.

Joe Sumner's art work for "Everything Is Teeth" is predominantly black, white and line, except for the sharks which are rendered in naturalistic tones ... and there's the odd splash of red in the gruesome bits. The result is superficially simple and it is very easy to devour the book (shark-like) in one big gulp. But  there is a rhythm in the layout ... (I think)... where quiet double-page spreads are interspersed with comic-strip narrative, all of which result in a careful re-telling of a childhood, a family, and a phobic obsession, a world in which facts are gathered and images haunt. But the haunting image is also the fate of the shark.

You can read an "Independent" interview with the author here.

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