Kimble Bent: Malcontent by Chris Grosz reviewby David Larsen
A great story is done no favours when retold as a graphic novel.
You’re less likely to know him from James Cowan’s 1911 non-fiction title, The Adventures of Kimble Bent: A Story of Wild Life in the New Zealand Bush, although apparently it was a sensation in its day.
And a century after its day, we get the graphic novel. Cartoonist and graphic designer Chris Grosz has adapted Cowan’s book, using the scraperboard etching technique, in which white clay is coated with black ink, which is then scraped off with a fine nib.
Scraperboard images found on the web show the technique can produce delicate and complex work, but Grosz opts for a rough-hewn black and white look. The strong lines and stark contrasts emphasise the violence and danger of the New Zealand Wars appropriately enough, but the overall effect is less dramatic than crude.
Moreover, the story’s flow from one panel to the next is often counter-intuitive, and Grosz relies heavily on dense helpings of text, much of it hard-to-read white lettering on black background.
No question that this is a great story, but the treatment here doesn’t do it many favours.
KIMBLE BENT: MALCONTENT – THE WILD ADVENTURES OF A RUNAWAY SOLDIER IN OLD-TIME NEW ZEALAND, by Chris Grosz (Random House, $24.99).
For more stories and columns by David Larsen, click here.
The lawyer of a woman ordered to pay $28,000 to her likely abuser has urged the justice minister to intervene.Read more
Instead of striving to be disciplined, dedicated and presidential, Trump is flitting between seven characters that have no place in the White House.Read more
Can a chef promote foraging, seasonality and plant-based eating, yet also serve meat and other animal-derived protein products on the same menu?Read more
Artist Bruce Mahalski's museum is the result of a lifetime of collecting.Read more
The backlash against the Gillette ad shows how painfully little distance we as a society have covered since the #MeToo movement.Read more