Author(s): Jaako Ahonen & Lauri Ahonen
Genre: Psychological Graphic Novel
Number of Pages: 128
Jaybird is a strange, strange little graphic novel. You kind of have to see it to believe it. With minimal dialogue and an eerie gothic backdrop, it tells the story of a slightly Norman Bates-esque bird who lives in a mansion with his controlling and infirm mother. He’s never been outside the massive, dust-filled estate where he spends every day tidying up and attending to his mom, who tells him if he leaves the house certain death awaits. The little bird is brainwashed into a constant state of terror but with the help of a unlikely ally he begins to question the things his mother tells him.
This book is definitely not for everyone, but it’s atmospheric and visually arresting, especially the way the illustrations show depth and perspective with almost cinematic aplomb. The story is sometimes moving but it’s absolutely NOT for kids, it’s full of unsettling imagery and made me feel a little bit uncomfortable.
There’s a feeling of disease and decay to the aesthetics that makes it even weirder that the main characters are basically little cartoon animals. It also tells a bleak story of abuse and mental illness, with little hope for it’s pitiful but weirdly endearing protagonist. However, it did succeed in grabbing my attention in a very short amount of time and it’s something that will stick with me, kind of like a dream that lingers into morning.
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