Thursday, May 15, 2014

Plucker, and Illustrated Novel by Brom

Almost a year ago a friend told me about an artist named Brom who had created a few illustrated novels which had some very scary artwork. She mentioned the novel Plucker and had briefly talked about the story, which I found intriguing and decided to put it on my ever-growing "To Be Read" list. Well, eventually I got around to reading Plucker and I'm certainly gad that I did. I definitely want to read Brom's book about Krampus come Christmas time this year as well.

Let me begin by saying that although Plucker is an illustrated novel with some downright amazing artwork and talks about toys, it definitely is meant for grownups. Aside from some very strong language throughout the book, I think the events would give even the bravest of kids nightmares about what's under the bed. But I think that's a very good thing because as adults we sort of fall into this assumption that illustrated novels are beneath us. They're meant for kids and we should be reading big, thick books with lots of words that talk about important things. (Or if we read the more pulpy sort of books like tawdry romances or two-fisted action stories we're supposed to deny it enthusiastically.) But illustrated novels don't stop being fun, and to see something designed explicitly for adults is really refreshing in its way. Plus, this book deals a lot with primal fear which is a pretty deep topic in and of itself.

The overall plot of Plucker follows the adventures of Thomas's toys, specifically Jack. Although the secret lives of toys is a subject that's been explored dozens of times in works ranging from The Velveteen Rabbit to Toy Story, as pretty much all of us were children that played with toys at some point in our lives (and some of us still do) it remains a very relevant theme and fertile ground for new material. Plucker provides its own very creepy and dark twist with the titular Plucker, an evil spirit that begins attacking the toys in Thomas's room. Although it's a very short story, it packs a huge emotional punch and is well worth reading for those who are still young at heart. (Although I wouldn't recommend it for those still young at age.)

But of course, it's coupled with some downright gorgeous artwork that really captures the spirit of the story. The toys look like toys with their cotton and sawdust stuffing. The monsters look grotesque and terrifying, and the Plucker is a real piece of work too. Plus toys make a really great medium because I think we've all been a little creeped out by a decapitated porcelain doll's head. And if you don't mind my saying, it all comes to a very good end as well.  Highly recommend.

- Kalpar

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