Browsing the Brilliance of Nobrow Press
We’ve long admired the output from UK publisher Nobrow. The team who started in 2008 are renowned for offering a platform for illustration, graphics and illustration orientated books/ publications. It has to be said that’s definitely clear from their releases, amidst which it’s clear to see a huge amount of care and attention is placed into not just the content but also the beautiful printing of their books. Something which has gained Nobrow a vast selection of dedicated fans across the globe.
So when Nobrow offered us a glimpse at their latest releases ‘In Waves’ by AJ Dungo and ‘Skip’ by Molly Mendoza we couldn’t wait to delve in and find out more.
First up was ‘In Waves’ by AJ Dungo, a phenomenal book following the initial history of surfing whilst simultaneously following the heartbreaking story of Dungo’s own personal loss of his partner. The mutual love of surfing which the two shared is what ties together the narrative and offers something truly rare within the graphic novel scene, an incredible emotive read.
Dungo’s visually arresting illustrations lead the reader through a myriad of different settings exploring the world of both surfing and his own memories. His minimalistic take on the waves, in particular, are incredible with a heavy dose of cyan colours and luscious dark tones almost emphasising the grief of the narrative. Against those tones, the historic elements of the story are depicted largely in sepia setting a welcome contrast. Each side of the narrative wonderfully compliments the other and it’s a fantastic insight into a very personal and emotive story.
At over 360 pages it’s an incredible achievement of a book. A book which often a raw but still absolutely engaging read which you’ll plough through from start to finish. We can’t recommend it enough, just be ready to pick up the tissues.
Next up we were offered a chance to check out Molly Mendoza’s incredible ‘Skip’. It has to be said the printed version of this book is gorgeous. Its high-quality hardcover finish makes it immediately pickup-able and we were especially intrigued to jump into this colourful story.
The story itself is especially different from ‘Waves.’ Starting in a post-apocalyptic world after a seeming catastrophic disaster, we’re introduced to the story of Bloom. Who, after a mishap encounters Gloopy, who’s a phenomenally different character. Lost and confused the two have no option but to continue their quest in order to return to the sanctuaries of their respectable homes.
From a seemingly standard narrative ‘Skip’ very quickly throws the reader into the literal deep end as the story is suddenly turned on its head. Without giving too much away there felt definite themes akin to The Wizard of Oz, Yellow Submarine and Alice in Wonderland as two strangers turned friends follow a psychedelic, surrealist journey whilst attempting to find their way home.
Molly’s distinctive art style absolutely grabs your attention. The art which ebbs and flows over the pages of the book is a joy to behold. It’s fair to say Mendoza’s vivid use of colour is astonishing and quite often you’ll find yourself pouring over pages in order to fully digest the scene in question. Something we found particularly refreshing for a graphic novel which really allows for the reader to soak up the tone of the book.
It also should be said that Mendoza’s use of colour tone throughout Skip’s dialogue bubbles really help the characters to express and show an added level of depth to the speech – something we especially enjoyed. For such a seemingly simple basis for a tale you’re thrown constant curve balls and it’s fascinating to see how the interplay between the two main characters evolves from this.
Quite often the story delves into dark territory but ultimately this tale of two friends attempting to overcome all odds to reach their homes keeps you on the edge of your toes from start to finish.
We absolutely loved both Nobrow’s ‘In Waves’ and ‘Skip’ – Make sure you pick up copies of both today at https://nobrow.net/