No Brow

Over the last couple of weeks, a lot of strange things have arrived on the Design Week news desk: a sprout in a box; popping candy chocolate; some orthopaedic shoes.

But probably the best thing we got was two books from the lovely people at No Brow illustration and graphic art publishers – Luke Pearson’s new graphic novel, Hilda and the Midnight Giant; and Richard Short’s Klaus.

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Pearson’s book tells the story of a young girl, the titular Hilda, whose idyllic countryside lifestyle is threatened by some rather menacing tiny elvin creatures who have held a very longstanding grudge against her and her family. As their threats get increasingly frightening, we’re transported to a world of avalanching rabbits, a handless (and, surprise surprise, corrupt) Prime Minister and ‘nitttens’ – like nits, but tiny hair-inhabiting cats.

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What Hilda discovers, however, is that it’s not just little people that populate her surreal environs – but huge ones too.

In a poignant example of true love waiting, it transpires that an enormous giant – as big as a mountain – has been waiting for his female counterpart, who has been asleep for four thousand years. Happily, at the end, the skip off hand in hand into the sunset.

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Despite this romantic resolution, things don’t turn out so well for young Hilda…..But we won’t spoil it for you.

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In a very different tale, Short’s Klaus the anthropomorphic cat, a witty little Moomin-like devil, stars amongst a cast of peculiar creatures including ‘humanoid rats’ and his feline ‘libertarian doppelganger Otto.’

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In a departure from usual comic language, the dialogue is packed with literary allusions, anachronistic speech inflections and poetic quips, making for a brilliantly funny, surreal read.

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Klaus by Richard Short is priced at £15, while Luke Pearson’s Hilda and the Midnight Giant is £11.95, both published by No Brow and available from http://www.nobrow.net/

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