Created by Alexander Utkin
Translated by Lada Morozova
72 pages – Full Colour – £12.99
Published by Nobrow
“Greetings, best beloved, my name is Gamayun. I am a magical human-faced bird from Slavic mythology. Today I will tell you of an amazing tale: The Water Spirit.”
The Story: We rejoin our friend the merchant (from Volume 1 of Gamayun Tales, reviewed here) on the long and treacherous journey home from his adventure with the King of Birds.
When curiosity gets the best of him and he opens his new mysterious golden chest, the merchant unwittingly condemns his newborn son to a life under the sea… but friends can be found in the most unlikely places, and with any luck the merchant’s son won’t have to face his future alone…
The Review – It’s a credit to the creator and indeed publisher NoBrow Press that this second volume of richly painted folklore goodness arrives hot on the heels of its first volume. It seems only a scant few months since the first story, and we are blessed with another equally glorious second one.
As I picked up the package from my doorstep, I wondered what this could be. I recognised the waterproof/damage proof packaging from Nobrow and opened it with speedy efficiency. But I decided to enjoy this one and let it play on my mind for a few days before I wrote a preview. This sort of detailed work deserves that measured and considered approach.
It’s the imaginative designs of Alexander Utkin’s world of Gamayun Tales and the fellows who inhabit it that hits you after you see the glorious pastel style artwork. Watch out for Gamayun – she is the strangely attractive human faced bird lady who tells us the tale. She has a wide eyed, yet knowing look on her blue feathered face. She talks you through this story of folklore harshness. Gifts are secret curses, honest working peasants are flawed and a lumpy sea monster has a deal for you!
These hardworking country folk sure get themselves into some scrapes, too! In fact, there is a real sense of peril to the story. You will worry what will happen to the family stuck in the centre of all the machinations of these strange and powerful clans of creatures and monsters. The dialogue is fresh and immediate and at moments suddenly delivered in moments of threat and uncertainty.
It is paced with style and although leaving you on a “Oh no, they left the story there?!” moment. (There’s a lot crammed into this second volume).
I guarantee you’ll be searching for a release date for number two as soon as you see this last sample page!
Gamayun Tales 2: The Water Spirit is a book that you will read, enjoy and then immediately flip back through the pages to catch up on the details of the artwork that you missed on the first pass. There’s a moment where swans land on a lake that is exceptional!
I keep saying this regarding Nobrow hardbacks, but this is a grand presentation for a minimal price tag. 63 pages of richly coloured card stock pages in a beautifully bound cloth-spined book. It’s like high grade heroin for a comic addict like myself (don’t do drugs,kids!)
If you’ve read all the Hilda stories, then this will keep you and yours happy.
• Gamayun Tales 2: The Water Spirit by Alexander Utkin is scheduled for release this August. You can buy it direct from NoBrow Press here on their web site or from any physical or digital book shop
Alexander Utkin is an illustrator, comic artist, designer and musician from Russia. He studied at Moscow State University of Printing Arts, graduating in 2006 with a Master of Arts. Clients include Samsung, Universal Music and WWF, among many others.
This review first published on my own blog Never Iron Anything. Many thanks for reading.
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Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.