Pan’s Labyrinth Meets Nat Turner

¬†Once I got over the fact that I was reading a web comic and focused on the art/story line, I couldn’t help but find parallels to the two mentioned titles.

The art reminded me of a more youthful version of Nat Turner. Perhaps I’m making the connection because Bayou also deals with themes of racism and discrimination, but I think it also has something to do with the point of view. For example, in the opening chapter we see a man hanging from a tree, not unlike the final scene in Nat Turner, and the panels that follow share an equally eery feeling as Lee dives into the pond. I would also like to note that the color schemes here, browns and greenish grays, resembles the art in Nat Turner. The difference between the two, however, lies in that Nat Turner ends with a tragedy, while Bayou starts with one.

This leads to a bizarre coming-of-age story reminiscence of the film Pan’s Labyrinth, where, through our protagonist, we enter a world similar to our own though full of magic and strange creatures. In Bayou’s alternative view of history we dance a fine balance between what could be real and what is not. Furthermore, because our main character is so young, there is a level of skepticism about how to accept what we are presented with- at least, I am a skeptic (Call it a biased against children in literature/art, but a combination of children & magic is almost too predictable). I am not a big fan of magical realism, yet I think this is kind of the graphic novel is its equivalent… and strangely enough, I did not dislike it.

I’m still questioning how viewing this in book format as opposed to web format would be different. I understand the difference in mediums and tend to prefer book to online, but for some reason I found the art incredibly accessible in the format in which I viewed it.