Friday, 20 March 2020

In Preview - 'Raze' by Claire Spiller.

Hi Folks. I've been on the missing for a few weeks as the day job has been over-taking my life and I've also been finishing up a few comics projects that you will soon be seeing. 

I decided to jump back into the reviewing with the below book from Good Comics. It's a doozy and one that jumpstarted a few ideas ticking in the brain box.

So, here you go.


Created by Claire Spiller.

36 pages - £5.00.
A combination of Black and White art with some added colour.
Published by Good Comics.
Released on April 4th, 2020.

This is how Good Comics describe the book;

'Reminiscent of the pastoral beauty of Hayao Miyazaki and the speculative genius of Ursula LeGuin, RAZE is a story of old gods, rewiliding, and the balance in the world between man and beast. Claire Spiller's artwork elegantly uses shining gold against a black and white landscape to remind us of man's destruction and pollution, and to muse on what might happen if the animals and old gods reclaimed the land from us.'

The Review - This is a book that delves into our world and what we are doing with and to it. It uses strangely savage yet beautiful iconography that pulls you in before presenting the reader with real-world consequences. It's quite a feat. In allowing the reader to bask in that reality, swaggering grace and immediate risk of the natural world we are brought back down with a bump when shown a mirror to our own behaviour that can put this environment at risk.

'Too lost in the brilliance of his own light...'

Using some gorgeously bizarre designs that are worthy of something by Jim Woodring we see Claire Spiller pull all the strings of reality in a little bit tighter. The reader initially watches the brutality of natural selection between creatures. God/Animals that have been carefully crafted through almost absurdistly cubist geometrical shapes and then she has added the lines/textures of real mammals. This adds an alternative nature theory to the narrative that allows the jolt of realism at the end to be even more defined and affecting. 

There is a reverence to nature here on show. We see it at once both fragile yet strong and proud. I get a feeling of prehistoric cave paintings in the hunt and death element to the images on show in moments. The arrival of man as the destroyer is dealt with brilliantly like a cross between aboriginal art and a Christian stained glass window. He appears and begins to destroy the old gods and tear up the forests with a nasty old testament plague of rage.

Halfway through the pages you will immediately notice the addition of colour. But not just an added colour because what this yellow signifies is the addition also of light and an almost quasi-religious feeling of angelic wrath. The stag in many cultures is used as a figurehead for the spiritual strength of nature. A proud yet enigmatic beast empowered and dangerous. Claire rears this native animal before our eyes and we watch as if goes from vulnerable fawn to war-like and vengeful stag. And she does so with some breathtaking art!

'....and turning it all into strength and a quiet fury.'

There is also a poignant poetry to this story both visually and in the narration. It is minimally written and never becomes pretentious. This is a comic that never preaches but does teach. It shows the merits of careful and respectful co-existence. There is some advice in the last page that is very worthy of note.

I have not seen the finished physical book and hope that this is formatted large and bold. It would seem a waste to have this as just another A5 indie comic? I would also make more use of the golden stag on the cover as the titles seem a tiny bit dominating. But this is a small criticism in a book that says so much and looks so elegantly brutal. 

Highly recommended.

Find more about this creator at You can also find her on Twitter @claireaspiller

Claire Spiller is a comics artist from the Bristol area of the UK. She is also part of the comics collective Wine & Zine. She has previously released 'Lost Light' that is a comic about light pollution and it's effects on wildlife.

You can find those comic making and publishing folks from Good Comics at their website and webstore right here and on their Twitter @Good_Comics

Many thanks for reading.

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