JAYBIRD Review: A Deceptive and Haunting Book

This is a great little book and is the first of many book reviews I hope to be doing. Definitely worth checking out.

Another Castle

The back cover of Dark Horse Comics’ translation of Jaybird by writer Jaakko Ahonen and his artist brother Lauri describes it as “Disney Meets Kafka.” That description of the original graphic novel–first published in Finland in 2012–is true enough. Like Disney, the characters are anthropomorphized animals with varying degrees of visual appeal. Like Kafka, the story and main character’s mindset are claustrophobic; the entire book takes place inside a single house. But judging the book by those two extremes doesn’t quite do it justice.

These are animals, but they aren’t “funny animals,” at least as comics know them. These animals are realistic-looking, highly textured and somewhat grotesque. The effect’s less Disney and more Laika, incorporating the minute details of that studio’s creations while also showcasing their spooky, unsettling tone.

The Kafka comparison is harder to beat. Most of the story is inside the main character’s thoughts.  Fear of spiders…

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