Monday, 23 June 2014

Morvan and Nesmo's Bramble: an ecological war between nature and the city wrapped in a sci-fi mystery

Browsing through catalogues as ever, seeing what's coming up and out in the comics world and deciding what's hot or not, and this cover (below) for a forthcoming release from Humanoids called Bramble, caught my eye (the wraparound version above is from writer Jean-David Morvan's Facebook page- designed and illustrated by the book's artist, Nesmo, aka Alexandre Nesme for the French edition of the comic)

I think that's a really strong cover and image- visually striking: the beast is exciting-looking with it's massiveness and apparent mecha/organic hybrid nature: the claws, the spiky back, the visor head and then you have the strange paradox of him looking like a vast ferocious monster who's in the process of devouring someone, but has paused to gaze at the other arresting component here: the horned man. The man has an immense pair of antlers growing from his head, and is seemingly almost floating or being held by some force midway along an opulent staircase. His head is positioned so it is back-lit by the sun, conjuring up a halo of sorts, that is at odds with the connotations of the antler horns. The stillness of the beast at his presence further highlights his significance. The pink/purple/blue colouring -particularly unexpected on the beast- works to emphasise the abnormality of the world presented. And that all comes across quickly as you look at it- the composition and placement is fine, the thorny stylisation of the title isn't too over/cooked or overwhelming thanks to the relative neutrality of the font colour and the clarity of it's immediate background. It's a great cover.

Which makes it all the more baffling that it looks like Humanoids are planning to go with this one (below) as the final cover. I hope that's not the case.

Anyhow, having been drawn in by the cover, I had to find out a bit more about what the book was about and it sounds quite interesting. I thought it might be worthwhile to post both the short blurbs I dug up, purely as a comparison exercise in marketing- I definitely prefer the second, as polished as the first one might sound, it strips away some of the character and meat which would entice people into reading:

'When a mysterious, giant of a man arrives in a vast steampunk megalopolis, death walks beside him, leaving a trail of corpses in their wake. It's up to a dysfunctional police investigator to find the strange giant and stop him before the bodies pile even higher. But soon the truth is discovered, that this case is far more complicated than the detective couldve possibly conceived ; a veritable battle between nature and the city is unfolding, whose very outcome could forever change the face of the earth.'


'In a retro-futuristic world, a clumsy and gullible giant arrives in a dark megalopolis. He has just left his village for the first time and his initial contact with the city is a shocking one. Soon, he is arrested by the police when caught on the scene of a sordid crime. The flesh of the victims is still under his fingernails and he is the perfect culprit: alien, mute, docile, but possessing a Herculean strength. Commissioner Edouard Mornières, a good man, is put in charge of the grisly investigation and does not believe in this too perfect of a scapegoat. What he ignores however, is that the arrival of the giant in town coincides with the revival of a merciless war between nature and city...'

Bramble, penned by JD Morvan (Naja, Meka, Zaya) and illustrated by Nesmo, was originally released as a 3 volume series in French- titled Ronces. This collected, 144 page hardback, English language volume will be released in September later this year and I'm very much looking forward to it- the concept sounds like an intriguing mix of specific genre conventions combined with more wider, issue-led themes. One to keep an eye out for, certainly.