Comic Review: Barking (Unbound)

A story of survival commands our attention in Barking, an original graphic novel by Lucy Sullivan. Shock, grieving, treatment, and recovery are vividly captured in a flawless flow of black […]

A story of survival commands our attention in Barking, an original graphic novel by Lucy Sullivan.

Shock, grieving, treatment, and recovery are vividly captured in a flawless flow of black ink, in this very affecting graphic novel. Sullivan’s semi-autobiographical story includes a big helping personal hell, as experienced by a character who enters a mental health facility.

Sullivan’s fresh and stream of (semi)consciousness storytelling keeps us in suspense, as we see the fractured and damaged world within. Within the character, who is unable to distance herself from a traumatic event that occurred a year ago. Within the facility, flawed and full of pitfalls and troubled occupants, Alix Otto must try to reassemble her life.

The line quality and spacial quality of the Barking visuals are really memorable. While Alix tries to keep herself upright and her thoughts on dry land, the shadows, scratchy dialogue, and peripherally angled creatures threaten to take centre stage. Scribbled sketches, potentially “realistic” renderings hampered by fried circuits, people who stretch and inhabit a distorted world, all coalesce to form a high contrast ballet of the imagination. Exaggeration, desperation, degradation, and concentration of wills.

It’s theatrical, beautifully rendered, and poetically delivered. Highly recommended reading for those who want original writing and drawings, outside the usual graphic novel treatments, and away from the highly travelled slick-surfaced graphic highways. Memorable for its open honesty, bitterness, and flavoured black and white openness.

Here’s how to find a copy:

Hardback books are available either signed £16.99 or sketched £30 from Lucy Sullivan’s website & ship worldwide. 

https://lucysullivanuk.com/buy-comics/barking

 

eBooks £5 & Hardbacks (Unsigned) £16.99 are available from the publisher Unbound & also ship worldwide.

https://unbound.com/books/barking/

(Currently no US/Canada distribution)

Barking, Graphic Novel hardcover, 64 pages, black and white. Mature readers

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!