Storm clouds darken—both literally and figuratively—a young girl’s solitary summer idyll when her grandpa welcomes a new houseguest.
Blexbolex teases with the new guest’s identity in this wordless outing, as it may look like a small gray elephant in most of the pictures, but it behaves like another child…and appears as a boy in a pair of dream sequences. The girl greets the new arrival’s friendly overtures with a cold shoulder and mean pranks initially, but she repents after alienating him so that he doesn’t come home one evening and then forcing her grandpa to go out into a blustery night to fetch him back inside. By then he’s fed up, though, so the standoff continues…until the night everyone in the community dons animal masks and gathers beneath the stars for a country fair. But just when it seems like the quarrel might be resolved, the girl wakes up next morning and he’s gone. She catches a final glimpse of the lad—and, astonishingly, the elephant—waving from the departing train. This poignant tale of lost opportunity is presented through a series of small action and reaction shots set within larger views of a tidy country house in serene woodsy surrounds, all printed in serigraphic style on rough surfaced cloth. Emotional tapestries are easy to plot, both through the interplay of rich colors and deep shadows and the characters’ strong, graceful postures and gestures. The primary (human) cast is pale-skinned.
Magical work, as immersive as the author’s Ballad (2013) or his larger-format picture albums. (Graphic fiction. 10-13)