Review: A Graphic Cosmogony

A Graphic Cosmogony by Nobrow presents 24 artists' interpretations of the biggest story ever told - the beginning of everything.

Originally published in 2010, the book has recently been reissued and features the artistic work of Mike Bertino, Luke Best, Isabel Greenberg, Jakob Hinrichs and Robert Hunter to name a few.

Each given just 7 pages to visually interpret the ‘beginning of the universe,’ the volume celebrates the comic genre with a diverse and visually arresting collection of illustration.

With 176 pages of comic joy, there are countless reasons why this is such a fantastic book and one that every discerning collector should own. It would take forever to list all of the book’s high points, so we have whittled it down to our top 4 comics:

Genesis – Brecht Vandenbroucke

The most striking comic, both in terms of content and execution, is Brecht Vandenbroucke’s interpretation of Genesis. Telling the story of a woman giving birth to the world, it is also one of the most eccentric narrative visualisations. This however, does not get in the way of a moral, as the comic also manages to tackle more sensitive subjects such as birth and death. Impressive for a 7 page comic with no words!

Retold in a limited, vibrant colour palette in Vandenbroucke trademark style, the illustrations have a slightly psychedelic feel.

Depicting a woman giving birth to an elephant, as well as many other creature and creations, without it being off-putting would be a tricky task for any artist but Brecht does so brilliantly. Not only this, but he creates a fun and thought provoking piece at the same time.

Luna – Robert Hunter

Rob Hunter creates beautiful stories which are mesmerising and mystical in equal measure. Like his previous titles, The New Ghost and Map of Days, one of the best things about Luna is the depth of narrative to explore. Each page is structured into small panels, packed with fragmented shapes, textures and mark making.

Mix this devilish detail in with a luscious colour scheme – a mix of sandy yellows, pastels blues, pinks and splashes of red – the reader can get completely absorbed in the story

Pilgrims – Jon McNaught

Jon McNaught’s Pilgrims is one of the simplest stories in the book but proves to be one of the most emotive.

Incorporating themes of religion and humanity in a delicate and profound way, the atmosphere within his piece is truly special.

Many of the contributing artists to A Graphic Cosmogony choose to create comics that are purely visual. Jon McNaught is particularly effective in his delivery, building a depth and atmosphere within his silent illustrations that communicate far more about the setting of the story than words ever could.

Jon’s use of light and colour are also noteworthy as they highlight the details within the illustrations and add to the overall reader experience.

Solitude –Yeji Yun

With such an open brief, contributing artists had the space and opportunity to let their imaginations run wild, particulaly evident with the work of illustrator Yeji Yun.

Knitting seemingly random textures and drawings in a slightly hectic, enchanting and plafyul way, Yeji’s effortless style transfers brilliantly to the comic book medium.

Solitude is made up of 7 images, each depicting a different chapter to the story. Each image manages some how to have a contemporary feel and vintage charm, weaving a narrative as wild and adventurous as her technique.


Posted on Mar 12th, 15 by

Greg McIndoe - also known as Headless Greg - is an illustrator and design writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. He regularly writes for design magazines and online platforms, interviewing fellow illustrators and leading creatives.

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