Trial and Error: The Aviated Efforts of Jean Babtiste de Bomberaque by Oivind Hovland
|Trial and Error: The Aviated Efforts of Jean Babtiste de Bomberaque by Oivind Hovland|
|Genre: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A lovely and gentle graphic story of an aviation pioneer, and his literal ups and downs. This is a most enjoyable little work of art.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: November 2008|
|Publisher: Tabella Publishing LLP|
We open with a long, slow aerial shot, up the driveway of a chateau buried in the French countryside, focussing in on the family (father, mother, daughter, son) that live there. All except this cannot happen, as yet, for this is long before the age of powered flight and such a shot is impossible. It is up to the son in that family, one Jean Babtiste de Bomberaque, to pursue that dream and make it true.
This is a very pleasant instance of a creator toying with both us and his main protagonist. He gives us both the wonder of hot-air balloon flight, and forces de Bomberaque to follow a life-long cycle of trial and error as he tries to make an aircraft.
From our point of view there are patterns to Jean Babtiste's failures, from the images taking up the whole page to taking up the whole spread, where the spine fold becomes a narrative divide between then and now, past and present, success and failure. That pattern can be as brazenly and blazingly destroyed just as can the crashing prototypes.
The imagery is lovely, a firmly black and white work that shows us in a slightly unnatural way the people and other features of the district, and what impact JBB has on them all. I have more than once scanned a mainstream graphic novel to see if repeated images have been done in Photoshop, but here the repeated countryside is an ideal place for it to work, and work well – the landscape getting peppered with more wreckage as the story goes on.
If I just start to mention the words in this book, I am forced to use more than the creator does. There are a couple of captions only, but the other little bits of writing, semi-hidden in multi-layered images, quietly add great depths to the story.
This then might look like, and might well be dismissed as, a picture book for adults. But there is a lot in here, from the full cycle of the story to the humour (and cuddly animals) that are there at first, and third, perusal. This might just be the work of a man who is becoming, if is not already, a master of the sequential art form.
We must thank the publishers for our review copy.
We've also reviewed A Day in the Life of Alfred by the same author. It's another book you shouldn't miss.
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