Review – A Projection (Avery Hill)

Avery Hill Publishing
Written and illustrated by: Seekan Hui
Release Date: 7th July 2018 (Small Press Day)

“Say, if you had to choose, do you feel like you are more of a pepperoni, hot dog or a steak?”

Right from the opening few pages, A Projection – the latest offering from Avery Hill Publishing, set for release on Saturday the 7th of July to coincide with Small Press Day – feels wilfully unconventional.  Cartoonist Seekan Hui delivers an unconventional story with an unconventional artistic style, an approach which displayed beautifully during the opening sequence which sees nanny and aspiring photographer Cecilia meeting her new employer.

Hui’s intentionally flattened style makes for a striking aesthetic, with the light borders of the characters making it feel at times almost like the figures are paper cut-outs placed on the page.  It’s utilised to impressive effect through the course of the book, with certain sequences almost like excerpts from a scrapbook – a fitting style for a book whose themes include the recording of memories via photographs.

The story itself is difficult to describe without giving away a lot of its impact, but sees Cecilia being gradually drawn into the world of her somewhat volatile new boss and her two children, Candy and Apple.  There are notes of horror, humour, surrealism and grief thrown into the mix here, and while it feels like different readers are going to take away different things from the story, isn’t that precisely what makes comics so great?

Is it an enjoyable read, though?  Well, sort of.  That’s not to say there’s anything particularly bad or unpalatable about it, but it’s definitely a book that challenges you as a reader throughout, constantly requiring to shift your focus to decide which moments are real, which are imagined, and how to better understand the constant conflict between the two.

For my personal tastes, A Projection falls right in the sweet spot.  Smart enough to make you think, but not pretentious or self-involved enough to the point where the reader switches off.  It’s a fascinating book which merits repeated readings in order to fully peel away the layers of mystery and metaphor.

So, while those looking for a quick, accessible story with a beginning, middle and end are likely to end up bitterly disappointed, if you’re looking for a thought-provoking story which fully exploits all the subtleties of the comic book medium, this one comes highly recommended.

A Projection has its official launch on Saturday July 7th at Gosh Comics in London as part of Small Press Day 2018, and you can pre-order yourself a copy (with a free sketch from Seekan if you order before the launch) from the Avery Hill Website.

ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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