I first caught sight of Magda Boreysza’s work with the Laika piece she did for Toasty Cats issue 1 that we featured up on the FPI blog before Christmas. That was lovely stuff, immediately impressive for its dreamlike gentleness, detailed, tight linework and heartfelt story.
And her Toasty Cat comic certainly seems to carry that loveliness on, but it adds much more. It’s a beautiful wordless comic, two stories, all wrapped up with life and death, rebirth, generational things. Meaning is left vague, all the better for you to ascribe your own reading from it.
It’s a quick read at first. But it did keep drawing me back, to glean more and more from her delicate, detailed line drawings. This really is simply lovely.
The first untitled story tells of a group of dog like creatures, all meticulously detailed fur and cunning in their faces. A fire is made, the group draws together for something almost akin to collective worship, or perhaps simply a tradition of storytelling before the long night, or maybe a pre-hibernation ritual.
A snake invades their sleeping den, there’s a death, beautifully symbolised by the shedding of skin to something simpler, purer. And then there’s rebirth, perhaps …. meaning is deliberately left vague, all the better to leave you puzzled at first, but deftly done to encourage repeated and illuminating reading.
The second tale; Fox and Comet, deals again with cycles of life, and death, generation to generation. In a series of images taking place against the backdrop of the seasons changing, we see the inevitability of life and death, the passage from young to old, and all starting and ending with a comet flying across the night sky.
Boreysza’s art takes obvious visual inspiration from the Moomins of Jansson and a little bit of Sendak as well, the beautiful little illustrations creating a comic with a definite sense of simple, dreamlike storytelling.
Both stories have that magical sense of something ancient, something primitive, almost a sense of creation stories at times, something you could find on cave walls somewhere, or told around campfires, passed down from generation to generation, the collective folk tales of an ancient people.
Each time I read it, I was more impressed. Short this may be, but the depth and beauty will not just inspire, it will leave you thinking as well, and that really impresses.
You can but Toasty Cats 6, along with other issues and other titles from Boraysza at her webstore.