The Girl and the Gorilla

Posted by on February 16th, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Creativity, whole books have been devoted it and creative persons have been pestered about it since the dawn of time: Where does your creativity come from? But whether it is Narnia, Brobdingnag or Metropolis, even creatives need a place to escape. A place to softly lay down your head and just … rest. But what to do when  all these imaginary worlds disappear? When all the creativity is sucked out and only reality is left over?

German cartoonist Madeleine Flores explores these notions in her first graphic novel The Girl and The Gorilla by UK publisher Blank Slate Books. Through the force of a rejection slip and a talking gorilla, Aurelie is propelled into the realm of Creativity where people pay for grocery goods with limericks and the houses are made of books. Once there she gets involved in the struggle for existence with villain Schnurbad who resides in the Artist Block  literally, while Aurelie discovers at the same time that she has a personal stake in all the proceedings too.

The Girl and the Gorilla is full of charmed little ideas like described above. It is a simple adventure tale that doesn’t think about itself too much – it wouldn’t hold up either under close scrutiny anyway – and it just wants  the reader to have a good time with some niffy ideas about creativity and its realm.

Flores’ brushwork fits the all ages approach. While her colour illustration work oozes a joie de vivre, her subdued loose  and fluid linework give the characters an openness and  sympathetic quality. Her decision to leave out panel borders nicely captures the spirit of Creativity. Though I wasn’t too enamored with her backgrounds which miss that certain illusiveness to truely awake the illusion of another place with just a few strokes, they are at least adequately done.

The Girl and the Gorilla is a sweet and delightful little tale and I would heartily recommend it to younger readers who want to take a break from reality.

The Girl and the Gorilla by Madeleine Flores is published by Blank Slate Books. It is a black and white softcover counting 100 pages  and retails for £ 7.99.

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