THOUGHT BUBBLE 2019!
Sometimes the slightest narratives can have the profoundest depths. In The Teeth Huw “Lem” Davies provides a tale of the natural world with anthropomorphic qualities that teaches a basic but universal lesson about community, cruelty and how we treat each other.
The teeth of the title are of the feline variety. Predatory and terrifying, they belong to the scourge of the local avian population whose unrelenting and merciless killing sprees are a constant source of concern. While a pair of magpies can often see the cat off with their screeching furore they are not invulnerable to its hunting prowess. When the two decide to sacrifice a smaller bird to their enemy’s advances a spiralling series of destructive events is set in poetic motion…
The Teeth can be read as a brief but sobering fable on society and our responsibilities to others or on a more immediate level as a suburban short on the brutality of the natural world. Davies has a painterly style here that contains elements of both realism and caricature, rooting the story in a very recognisable world but also giving an exaggerated look to some of the cast that emphasises their character traits, like the appealing innocence of the smaller bird who meets such an unfortunate end early on. In particular, his rendition of “The Teeth” itself from the magpies’ perspective gives it a skulking, demonic presence that is almost supernatural in rendition.
There’s much to admire here in the distinctive appeal of Davies’s visual storytelling and the simple but well executed pacing of his plot, with his use of perspective being especially well considered in terms of the magpies’ relationship with their nemesis. Occasionally word balloon placement could be more carefully considered with it overly obscuring panels in the odd place but, overall, this tale of the casual cruelty of nature is an effectively blunt parable. As with all our Thought Bubble coverage check out the table details below to make sure you pick up your copy in Harrogate this weekend.
Review by Andy Oliver
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