Life’s a beach and then you die
Release Date: OUT NOW!
Publisher: Jonathan Cape Writer/ artist: David Hughes
If ghosts are
creatures who’ve found a way to escape the trappings of time, then David Hughes’s latest graphic novel is a spook in book form.
The Pillbox captures time, twists it, and reconstructs it, to create a truly haunting experience. We don’t want to spoil any element of a plot that, like The Sixth Sense before it, will make you want to experience it again, so we’ll keep the description vague.
It opens on the story of a young boy, Jack, who’s on a seaside holiday with his family. Jack meets another young man, Bill, after exploring a war- time pillbox, half- sunken in the sand of a Suffolk beach. Their encounter is brief, but has far- reaching consequences, as the narrative travels through time to tell Bill’s story.
The Pillbox is a captivating experience, charming, disturbing and stomach- churning in equal measure. At times, it almost reads like an MR James tale, albeit an MR James who’s been possessed by the spirit of David Shrigley. That’s because Hughes’s impressionist sketch- style art is as important as the words in delivering this bleak story of a boy’s fateful day out on a beach, and the impact that day has on many lives.
Be warned: it might look like a picture book, but this isn’t a kids’ comic, with adult themes looming into view around the midpoint.
If ghosts are essentially memories in human form, then The Pillbox is a spirit made paper. Once you’ve encountered it, it’ll stay with you forever. Sam Ashurst David Hughes’s first regular gig, back in the early ’ 70s, was illustrating a weekly cookery article in the Daily Express.
Dogs: bring people together.