Sunday, 22 July 2012

Nobrow 7: Brave New World

I got my copy of Nobrow 7 in the post a couple of weeks ago- it's a biannual publication compiled of comics and illustration, where creators are given a theme to interpret. In 7 we are given glimpses into our possible futures:

Is this our ‘Brave New World’? Have we yet to enter into it? Or are we on the brink of discovering a world entirely separate from ours: alien, parallel, internal? Inspired by the eponymous dystopian novel written by Aldous Huxley in 1931, Nobrow 7 asks 15 internationally renowned cartoonists, each contributing 4 page visual narratives, and 30 star illustrators to interpret the theme ‘Brave New World’.

It boasts a couple of great covers by Sam Vanallemeersch (comics side) and Eda Akaltun (illustration side). The illustration in Nobrow has always been of a high standard, but as with most multi-author anthologies, the comics have been a little inconsistent, although these have steadily and vastly improved in terms of hit to miss ratio.

Perhaps rather surprisingly considering the manifesto, it's not filled with dystopian futures, robot worlds and hi-tech futures, although they do feature. As much as I enjoyed The Double, Brave New World is a wowzer- it felt like there was a greater creative scope at play here. It's interesting to see different artist's interpretations: Tom Gauld pulls off an early win presenting two alternative futures- wonderful and dreadful, and the goodness continues from there, with a few people choosing to explore the juxtaposition between the past and the imagined horizon. Here's a selection of personal highlights-

Comic highlights:

Poseidon by Anders Nilson: Reminder to self- must buy Big Questions. Nilson's entry is the penultimate one in the comics section and when I came across it, I was ready to be let down. It's sparsely illustrated with bronzed shadow-cut images. Thus being forced to the words, it's a fantastic fable as Poseidon ponders the changing of times, the once reverence of him and his fellow gods and their abandonment in today's world.
Don't Touch the Floor by Hernry McCausland: In a land with sectioned off areas and polarised people, a man accidentally traverses into a no-go area and discover something unexpected. Both dystopian and dreamlike.

Don't Touch the Floor by Henry McCausland

Half-life by Jillian Tamaki: I only recently became aware of Jillian Tamaki, but everything I've seen and read has been solid gold. Her contribution touches on so many things, ageing, loss, self-significance and the way in which we are slowly diminish as there is less and less of us each day. I've made it sound pretty heavy, but it is actually quite uplifting!
New Worlds by Joseph Lambert: Three friends reminisce on their childhood and how through one another they learnt to live more fully, enriching each of their futures.
Goldilocks by Alex Spiro and Mikkel Sommer: It may sound rather romantic, but this flows beautifully, it has a poetic rhythm and quality to it. The story feels so large in breadth and yet its only told over 4 pages, as man plunders the last of Earth's resources in order to find pastures anew.

Goldilocks by Alex Spirro and Mikkel Sommer

Illustration highlights:
Adrien Demont
Angie Wang
Aurelien Cantou
Celine Desrumaux
Rapahel Urwiller
Idir Davaine
Julianna Brion

By Julianna Brion

Lotta Nieminen
Sergi Solons

And some more pictures of other efforts (all good)

Overall consensus: you need to buy this. And look you can do it here
Click the pictures tab for more peeks

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