Audobon: On The Wings of the World tells the story of one of history's most accomplished - and, as it turn out, most eccentric - painters and naturalists. Published by Nobrow Press, the graphic novel tells the story of John James Audobon - a man who's fascination with nature was enough to make him leave his family behind and spend his life travelling the world documenting wildlife through his artwork.
With any title, it is always the artwork which grabs me before the story pulls me in and Audubon has plenty to offer in the way of illustrative excellence. And it is a good thing too as Jérémie, the book's illustrator, was tasked with not only recreating some of Audobon's famous artworks in miniature but also bringing to life some beautiful natural setting in all their glory in order for the reader to the understand how Audobun became so intoxicated by it's wonder. Both are achieved with vintage textures and details paying testament to the original works and an array of varied and beautiful colours - ranging from the luscious pinks and blues of Aubobon's beloved birds to the earthier tones of the setting he spent his days and nights searching for them in - showing the vast beauty of the natural world.
The story too is enthralling however this is not due to endless dramatic twists and turns but instead the feeling of getting deeper and deeper into Audubon's mind as the tale unfolds. Particularly special are the occasional fantastical touches which the creative duo have dreamt up and thrown into the mix. Eagle-boats, mermaids and countless birds with human heads give a glimpse into the brilliant (if a little warped at times) mind of this truly legendary artist.
Despite being a relatively young publisher, Nobrow has a dense history of creating unorthodox autobiographies in the form of graphic novels. William Grill, Oliver Balez and Anne Simon have all used the comic book format to tell the untold life stories of some of history's biggest characters. With it having become a bit of a Nobrow staple, just the graphic novel format is no longer enough for a biographic title to stand out in their collection. Luckily the comic format is just the groundwork to a fantastic piece of work and it is the fantastical plot details and gorgeous illustrations which make Audubon stand out from the crowd so elegantly. With the success of the previous comic biographies, Jérémie and Fabien had a lot to live up to but that rose to the challenge. In fact, they did more that rise to it - they soared above it like a great eagle!