Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Review: Bjornstrand, by Renee French

I picked up this slim but surprisingly powerful little comic at the Portland Zine Symposium. Bjornstrand’s appeal lies in the skillful way it balances its outlandishness with severe restraint. 
It’s the story of a group of distantly seen tiny, dark humanoids (?) being menaced by a monstrously cute giant blimp of a creature - the titular Bjornstrand. Who is Bjornstrand? What does he want? It doesn’t really matter. He wreaks havoc in the lives of his tiny, anonymous victims, and we see events unfold as through a fuzzy, grainy lens. This drawing style is very appealing to me. It’s that texture, the fuzziness and the distant perspective that create a dreaminess, an otherworldliness that draws me in so absolutely. A little like hearing music on a very, very old tape, or seeing a deer walk through a thick fog. The style of the drawings is simple and doesn’t reveal much aside from a basic landscape, Bjornstrand himself, and his prey. It’s devoid of detail, focusing instead on texture. There is, too, an interesting disconnect between words and image: while the dialogue comes from the humanoids, Bjornstrand’s is the only face we see throughout the story. Granted, it’s a vapid, seemingly lifeless face. For all I know, Bjornstrand is a giant balloon, tossed and turned about by gusts of wind. Because of the absence of a relatable character, the dialogue feels almost like an internal voice. All these things make me feel strange, in the best possible way.   

You'll find an interesting interview with Renee French here

And her own blog here.

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