Publisher: DoGooder Comics
Words/Pictures: Becca Tobin
Release Date: 15th November 2014 (Thought Bubble)
Reviewing Becca Tobin’s Night Florist is a bit of a tricky proposition for me, being that this isn’t so much a ‘typical’ comic as it is an artbook. Comprised of sketches, musings and the occasional brief foray into sequential storytelling, this is a book without a narrative, a main protagonist or any of the other things I tend to look for when I’m putting together my reviews. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure where to begin.
That said, there’s something undeniably engaging about the British Comic Award-nominated Tobin’s contorted, almost grotesque visuals that gradually drew me in. Her psychedelic colours catch the eye immediately, with the unconventional style of her characters demanding more than just the fleeting glance which a lot of comic artwork tends to merit.
There is also a lot of emotion behind several of the pieces, something that even an ‘art philistine’ like myself can pick up on, and the more you look at each page, the more obvious it becomes just what Tobin’s message is. The themes that she touches on here are broad and open to individual interpretation; love, sex, attraction, all thrown together and delivered in decidedly unconventional ways. This isn’t your typical ‘hearts and flowers’, but something a little more raw, a little more real.
While this is definitely not a book that’s going to appeal to everyone, it does serve as an intriguing showcase for an exciting emerging creator and a firm reminder of just how diverse the medium of visual storytelling can be. Not everything has to be square-jawed ‘capes and cowls’ or big-eyed cartoon characters – sometimes all it takes is a tie-dyed, bird-headed woman sprawled out on the grass to get you thinking. Not my cup of tea necessarily, but this is a book that is going to have a definite niche appeal and which serves as a glowing testament to Tobin’s undeniably emotive talent.
If you’re at Thought Bubble this year, you can grab yourself a copy of Night Florist from DoGooder Comics at Table 161 in the New Dock Hall. The book will be available online shortly thereafter.