GRAPHIC NOVEL WEEK
Autumnlands, Volume One: Tooth and Claw is a delightfully strange new graphic novel series by Kurt Busiek and Benjamin Dewey.
Set in a different world where magic brought sentient life to the animal kingdom and most animals live in floating cities, the animals face a catastrophe as their magic fading and with it, the power that they held over the bison who were the only ground dwellers and workers, providing for the rest of the animals. When the bison decide that they no longer care to be enslaved, the rest of the animals look for a savior … someone or something to protect them. And their magic brings them a new animals. A pink creature with no tail, wings, claws, or fangs, but with an appetite for violence. As much as the animals need this new creature for their protection, they fear this ‘human’ as well.
I started out being really excited by this very original tale. The societal set-up was wonderful, and the incorporation of a failing magic was really interesting, especially when it coincides with the arrival of a human, and that human is destructive and savior at the same time. Really fascinating.
But somehow this story of how the human was going to protect and save the animals went on just a little too long. Maybe one issue too many with nothing but talk (issue 5, maybe?) and I did get just a little bit bored. I think mostly I just don’t like the fox character (not just here, but the character-type in general).
This book ends in a fairly natural spot, but it is an ongoing series and there is clearly much more than can be developed here and I’m excited to see where this story goes.
The art is very strong. This is one of those graphic novels that you might consider buying just for the artwork. I specifically like the double-page spread paintings that included a short narrative at the beginning of each chapter. Both the art and the letting style of the chapter heading had a very 1930’s feel to it, and it was strangely calming and seemed very appropriate for this world. The story art was also quite beautiful and conveyed the sense of story so thoroughly. This is the sort of book that you want to give to young artists to show them how to tell a story with their art, rather than simply drawing panel after panel of action poses. The use of the ‘long shot’ has become nearly a lost art (pun intended) in comics it seems, but it is used very effectively here.
I liked this book a lot and am eager to see where this story goes.
Looking for a good book? The Autumnlands, Volume One is a graphic novel with very strong art and an allegorical story that is part fable, part fantasy that will attract readers who might not normally read a graphic novel.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Autumnlands, Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw
author: Kurt Busiek
artist: Benjamin Dewey
publisher: Image Comics
paperback, 184 pages