Spider woman (16.07.10)
by Kate Brown is the third in David Fickling's
adventurous new library of bande dessinée books
British readers. Like Good
Dog, Bad Dog and Mezolith before
this release has risen from the embers of "The
DFC", a short-lived
but much admired weekly comic that toyed with greatness
wee while back.
"The Spider Moon" toys with greatness, too.
It drops us into the
midst of an exotic island society whose very existence
is in peril.
There is a prophecy that says this homeland will one day
crushed by the sky, and it will be proceeded by falling
To avoid this calamity a floating island has been constructed,
political infighting and manipulation threatens the
exists between the various races of this land, and as
so the stars around them are already starting to fall.
We learn all this through the eyes of a young girl called
We witness her following her island tradition and embarking
her first deep sea dive, acquiring the skills to harvest
which are sold on to make oil to fuel the magisterial
But Bekka's dive goes oddly awry, and suggests that
still more prophetic may be coming in to play, even
as the stakes
ramp up around her family and friends...
It's an ambitious story, then, and some younger readers
have to wrestle with its detail, but visually, they
should be instantly
engaged. The author
has a lovely, decorative drawing style that's part
manga, part Goble and Vess. Her clean line art is embellished
with recurring motifs, strings of stars and little fishes
around the panels, guy ropes fixing others to the page.
works best as a first step towards the magical world
If young readers take to this, then they might be ready
a hop and step across the floor of their local Waterstone's
delve into that rack of exotic eastern promises in the
novel section. Best of all, it will surely inspire
a section of its
readership to pick up a pen and get drawing, and to
there's even a step-by-step guide to creating the "Spider
cover art, tacked on to the end of this first book.
And that brings us to the one slight drawback to proceedings,
because this is, in fact, just Book One in an ongoing
unlike its to DFC Library predecessors we really
are left on a
cliffhanger this time, with our tale barely begun and
even the very
title itself still unexplained. The next DFC releases are
lined up, ready to go, but there's no word of Book Two
horizon just yet, which might stop a few potential readers
this volume. And that would be a shame because
they really shouldn't hesitate to dip their toes in
inviting and mysterious blue seas...