‘Love The Mastiff’
Written by: Frederic Brrémaud.
Illustrated by Frederico Bertolucci.
Translation, Editing and Layout by Mike Kennedy.
Published by: Magnetic Press
ISBN: 9781951719173 | Price: $17.99
Ages: 10+ | Format: Hardcover | Pages: 88.
On Sale: June 15, 2021
The Story – ‘A loyal Australian hunting dog finds himself alone in the outback when his master is bitten by a poisonous snake. He must venture across the dangerous outback to find his way home alone.’
This is the fifth volume in a series of wordless nature based stories. It can be read as a standalone story. This was recently a Kickstarter that smashed it’s aim of funding $7,500 with a resounding final total of $72,352. It is available to pre-order here. (I’m kicking myself that I missed this crowdfunding campaign).
The Cover – The cover of the Mastiff hero is gorgeous and immediately eye-catching. It’s worth noting that the only link to humans in this volume (ish) is the collar on the dog, which was a fun touch. This cover also tells a story and at the same time shows the reader an example of the glorious painted artwork inside. The graphic design is simple and the two credits and title don’t crowd the artwork. You only get the Magnetic Press logo on the back of the book and this keeps that image clean and fresh.
The Review – I got sent this as a digital review copy and my main issue with this is that I’ll now have to wait until June to get my hands on a physical copy. This is a beautifully told story that deals with the savagery and cruelty of the natural world. None of the animals are anthropomorphized but nonetheless exhibit character and emotion brilliantly.
Words of review/description are a little redundant in this particular case as the art does all convincing that you will need. It really is quite something and knowing Magnetic Press should come in a fancy hardback wrapper. Once I opened this link on my phone I immediately sent a few screenshots to Vince and Dan (my co-hosts at The Awesome Comics Podcast) and they were as impressed as I was/still am.
Magnetic Press are really on the rise as a publisher and one that I’ll look to straightaway for new releases. Infinity 8 and Curtain Call really have been cracking highlights so far. They’ve also released some good-looking hardbacks and I’m hoping that this one get’s the full saucy prestige treatment that it deserves.
Whilst this contains some show-stopping visuals it could be described as a quick read. Take my advice and spend some time drinking in the panel art before rushing onwards with the story. You will feel that need as there is a palpable sense of jeopardy in this story. The untamed nature of the Australian wilderness makes the reader wonder constantly who will survive the next five minutes. At many moments you second-guess the story and think that the end has come for the titular mastiff as well as the duck-billed platypus who is almost the book’s tragic/comedic placement. As we read we also overlay more humanistic feelings onto the animals present. We imagine a cruelty that isn’t really there and the villains/heroes move into narrative positions. A wordless book that manages so much is so enjoyable to read! But warnings are due as the ending might bring forth a tear.
There’s loads of back-matter to be had in this graphic novel. There’s a cool little sketchbook showing some of the animal designs and then they lay the science down with a section on Global Warming (yes, it is a real thing). It also talks about the 2019-2020 brush fires that destroyed 27 million acres of bush, forest and parklands as well as 3 billion animals being killed or displaced because of the fires. These are hugely important issues but the pages feel a little ill designed and regimented compared the the free-flowing nature in the rest of the book. That is obviously a small quibble in an otherwise excellent book.
Frederic Brrémaud, whose real name is Frédéric Brémaud, was born on March 11, 1973 in Seoul, is a French comic book writer. He also signed under the names ‘Brr’ or ‘Frédéric Alléluïa Brémaud’.
Federico Bertolucci is an Italian comic artist and illustrator. He is best known for his award-winning series of silent wildlife graphic novels, LOVE.
The LOVE series has been recognized for the following awards:
- LUCCA 2011 (Italy) – Prix spécial du jury
- ANGOULÊME 2012 (France) – Sélection Prix BD des Collégiens
- YALSA 2016 (USA) – Selection Great Graphic Novels for Teens (The Tiger)
- YALSA 2017 (USA) – Selection Great Graphic Novels for Teens (The Fox)
- YALSA 2018 (USA) – Selection Great Graphic Novels for Teens (The Dinosaur)
- INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS AWARDS 2016 (USA) – Gold Medal: Best Graphic Novel (The Fox)
- EISNER AWARDS 2016 (USA) – Federico Bertolucci: Best Painter/Multi-media artist (nominee)
- EISNER AWARDS 2017 (USA) – Best U.S. Edition of International Material (The Lion)
- EISNER AWARDS 2017 (USA) – Federico Bertolucci: Best Painter/Multi-media artist (nominee).
Many thanks for reading.