Her Bark and Her Bite is the type of book that would catch my eye, but I would have to be in the right mood to sit down and read it. I’m very glad that I did, and I can’t say I’ve read anything like this before, at least not that my slightly-scrambled brain can remember.
At first James Albon’s work was very jarring to me, and I had a hard time concentrating on it. The story is about a girl named Rebecca, a struggling artist who dreams of better things. She resonated with me on a personal level because I grew up in houses who didn’t accept me and I felt as if my quirky and artistic nature didn’t belong. Rebecca lives in her cousin’s attic, and her cousin doesn’t allow Rebecca to paint in the house because it’s “too messy”. Always having the want to create but not the space is quite an uncomfortable predicament, and in the middle of it she finds Victor.
Victor is an aloof and eye-catching man who always goes out to parties and is quick to drop his passions as soon as he finds a new one; usually within a few weeks time. This lifestyle attracts Rebecca because it lights a fire to her otherwise dull and unpleasing situation. She meets his friends and goes out with him, but this new way of living soon makes her rethink her path and purpose in life.
Overall the whole tale really drew me in, and the writing seemed more like a diary and the slightly crude writing style was very pleasing. It’s real, and reading from Rebecca’s point of view was raw and eye-opening as she made her way along the paces of her life with Victor. I really liked the story, but I will say that sometimes the illustrations clashed quite a bit.
At times the physical words on the page and the very sketchy illustrations were competing for my eye, and I even had a hard time reading a lot of the words. The artwork is done in primary colors only, and while some illustrations seemed very rushed and muddy, others were simply beautiful. The complete lack of the color black made it hard to make out some of the drawings, and I really had to search to see what it was I was supposed to be looking at. Though I think as a whole the book is a very beautiful piece of art, part of me wishes it had been a bit cleaner. To be real, that’s just wasted wishing because it’s clear that being clean and precise was not James Albon’s mission. I get what he was going for, and I’m sure there are people out there who will simply adore it, and my personal preferences are just that – my own.
Her Bark and Her Bite was witty, artistic, inspiring, and had some moments of equal satire and sadness. It was a very unprocessed story, and I’m very much inspired by the use of only shades of red, blue, and yellow. It’s one of those books that I will recommend only to some people as it’s certainly not for everyone. But for the people out there who are yearning for something sketchy, creative, and human, you’ve found yourself a winner in James Albon’s beautiful solo work.
by James Albon
Publisher: IDW Publishing/Top Shelf Comix