By Dan Berry.
Great Beast. Completely wordless, Carry Me by Dan Berry is a wonderful read, a sweet, sentimental comic, about love, about life, about death. It looks simply beautiful, Berry’s loose lines and sumptuous watercolour washes so attractive.
A bit of me wants to show and tell the lot, but the more reasonable side of me wants to try and leave the reveal to be enjoyed by the reader, however I don’t think Berry will mind me saying that the themes and driving idea through the book are obvious within a few pages.
Carry Me is just 24 pages long and it’s a fast read first time round, such is the storytelling power Berry wields, the fluid and flowing artwork pulling us through, the pages turning so fast, the need to find out where he’s going, how he does it. Before you know it, you’re at the end, and that small tear just forming in your eye is testament to the deliciously bittersweet nature of what you’ve just raced through.
The second read is more leisurely, relieved of the desire to uncover the story, there’s more time to relish the process, more time to languidly absorb the beautiful, beautiful artwork. There’s so much to enjoy on every page. Hell, just the damn foliage is gorgeous here…. That’s the first three pages. Look carefully and you can see the tale unfolding. Such a simple tale as well, a man and his baby daughter walking a neatly cut path, a path that becomes more overgrown and wild as the pages turn, and a cute puppy that starts almost immediately growling and pursuing the pair. Panels and time pass by, and the man and his child travel further with each other, the allegorical nature of Carry Me is revealed, simple yet so powerfully. I’d love to tell you more, but to to so would simply rob you of the enjoyment of experiencing it for yourself.
When I looked at Berry’s Throw Your Keys Away just last week I compared his lovely loose style with Quentin Blake and Raymond Briggs, and I’ll keep going with that comparison, as it’s one that works, and one that tells you just how good a comic artist Berry is right now, and how good he can be over the coming years.
The really impressive thing is how Berry set about creating Carry Me, with the idea of keeping everything fresh and vibrant, he worked straight into his sketchbook, no pencils, no corrections, just straight onto ink and watercolours, keeping it all very fast, very loose, yet all the way through it looks fantastically accomplished. Wonderful work, a tale to bring a tear to your eye and think about the passing of years and your own mortality, and art that jumps off the page with its beauty.
You can, and dammit, you should pick up copies of Carry Me at the Great Beast website.