Monday, 11 June 2012
Swooned & Signing! Hannah Berry's Adamtine
The first graphic novel from University of Brighton illustration course graduate Hannah Berry was Britten & Brulightly, a confidently told period detective yarn steeped in the noir tradition which made it onto the official selection list at Angouleme in 2010 (see here for my review way back). Adamtine (Jonathan Cape), the highly anticipated new release is an even darker affair featuring four strangers on a broken down night train, interspersed with flashbacks of a key moment in each characters recent past. Soon the malevolent presence of something supernaturally sinister seeps into the story.
What's unsettling with the book comes as much from the writing as well as the art interweaving a back story that keeps the reader on the back foot - you're aware there's a bigger story of menace and you're not sure how far the plot will take you or whether the characters will reveal a hidden motivation. It's one of those ambiguous puzzle-box tales that can either frustrate or intrigue - for me it was most certainly the latter.
Ultimately though it's the artwork which is the main point of recommendation. There's noticeable progression from Berry's debut: the figure work is consistent and expressive (bringing to mind Bryan Talbot) and the use of colours is excellent particularly in the train sequences which had me peering into the darkness looking for clues...
The ForbiddenPlanet blog featured a commentary from Ms. Berry (see here) but if you want to get even closer to the source Hannah Berry will be in the shop signing copies this Saturday between 1:00pm & 4:00pm.