Thursday, 12 March 2015

Bibliophilia: Jaybird – Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen

Jaybird – Lauri & Jaakko Ahonen 

The art is really wonderful, the metaphorical tale is a bit of a headscratcher. Great paintings do virtually all the story telling – what dialogue there is will take you all of about 2 minutes to finish - if you’re a slow reader. (It won the 2013 “Comic Book Finlandia” award – but I have to wonder just how plentiful the competition is.)

Frightened little bird lives in a massive Winchester like mansion with his ancient, bed ridden mother. She has convinced him never to venture outside the boarded up doors and windows. He wanders through the halls lined with portraits of his ancestors. His mother rings the Goldbergian dinner bell and he scurries off to make her something to eat and deliver it. He cleans. He wanders through the halls, frightened of every shadow. The only other living thing in the house appears to be a spider. He has nightmarish visions of much larger birds in military uniforms rampaging through the house. There is an ancient long gun hanging on one of the walls. He uses it to kill a needy bird that shows up at the door, believing the stories told by his mother that it will kill him. He wanders through the halls, scurrying from every sound. His mother dies, dessicating in her bed. We see him as a much older bird, still wandering the halls, and in one of the last scenes, he uses a broom to remove the corpse of the spider.

Definitely worth checking out, if for nothing more than the gorgeous art. The story is really desolate and sad though. (Which seems apropos. I have heard more than once that the Finns are a pretty dour bunch. 60 Minutes years ago had a segment on tango and how popular it was in Finland. Which was considered odd given how it’s a very expressive and passionate dance. A stoic old Finn, commenting on how difficult they find it to show any emotion, mentioned how “a Feennish man myt ssay I luf youw to hiss vyf on hur dess bed to cumfohrt hur.”) I howled.

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