Tim Bird’s newest title The Great North Wood will be hitting shelves next month through Avery Hill Publishing so it seemed like just the right time for me to take an early look.
It tells a story about an area just South of the River Thames that was once covered by a huge forest and while it’s a world away from the big bangs & epic battles of the superhero comics that we read, week in week out……it’s a handy reminder of just how diverse the indie comic world can be. Tim opts to narrate the majority of the book instead of using dialogue and after an opening few pages that introduces a fox crossing existing between the wild and urban landscape it’s a refreshing approach to something we maybe take for granted far too often.
Following the wild evolution of the forest itself and the animals within it there’s an air of mystery and wonder poured onto the pages with Tim’s simple but powerful visuals. As we see the land develop and grow into a natural habitat that ultimately surrenders to the power of “progress” it’s a stark reminder that while villages become towns then city’s, there’s still a place for nature to survive against the odds.
There’s a hint of melancholy from the offset as the bittersweet twinge of the human population stamping their authority on the land comes into view but the creators love of the natural world comes across as he ties the likes of street names to the history of the forest itself. In the end, it’s a thought-provoking man vs nature glance at a much-loved area of the country and while not everyone will be overly familiar with the London landscape there’s no doubt that the ideas and feelings this book generates can resonate with the vast majority of comic-reading fans.
Well-written & structured in a way that keeps the focus on certain areas pulled together like chapters and with a smart use of those stunning visuals this proves to be a surprise package that makes me take note of both the creator & the publisher……here’s hoping I get the chance to read some more from both.