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Glister Vols. 1-3
posted February 16, 2010
Walker Books Limited, softcover, 80 pages each, July 2009 (Vols 1-2)/January 2010 (Vol. 3), £4.99 each
9781406320480 (Vol. 1: The Haunted Teapot); 9781406320497 (Vol. 2: The House Hunt); 9781406320503 (Vol. 3: The Faerie Host)
Andi Watson first released a book of his Glister
stories in I believe 2007 through Image Comics. Three volumes have now found purchase with Walker Books' small graphic novels imprint: two volumes, The Haunted Teapot
and The House Hunt
, came out last summer and a third volume, The Faerie Host
, slipped into bookstores just after the most recent New Year. As much as I liked the presentation of the Image work in comparison to other Image comics, these small books I like very much all on their own. Watson's visual storytelling has a weight to it that most comics aimed at similarly-aged kids -- and I agree with Walker these could be read by any kid age of 8 on up -- simply can't muster. While many cartoonists can create a world, Watson's one of those that can let you know when it's damp, and how far up one's leg one might feel a particular draft. His sympathies extend to small nooks and to incidental fields between larger monuments.
The story in volume three, The Faerie Host
was new to me. It's the best in the series so far. The rapid unfurling of Glister's search for her dead mother provides our young heroine with an urgency she didn't have in previous efforts. The emotional nature of that journey confirms a kindness and longing in terms of her bearing I wasn't certain until this book she really had. Like many small girls in stories who lost their mothers, Glister Butterworth wants her back more than anything. Unlike them, she displays restraint and perseverance in equal measure in order to earn that relationship all the way back -- something we don't get to see, by the way. The fact that it doesn't happen shows you in part where Watson's beliefs on the matter lie: it's as important to deserve a mother's love as much as receive it.
Andi Watson's had a really interesting career in comics, and he's certainly one of those talents after whom a close observer of the industry might worry for their relative lack of opportunity, the chance to build an audience doing what they do best. It's in that spirit I hope no one forgets this second chance at a fine little series that should be mentioned in every discussion about comics for kids not to mention inhaled by comics readers for its inherent virtues, generous and pleasurable.