7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #485: Featuring Alexis Deacon

h1 May 29th, 2016 by jules


I’ve got some art today from author-illustrator Alexis Deacon’s first graphic novel, Geis: A Matter of Life & Death. (“Geis,” a Gaelic word for a taboo or curse, is pronounced gesh.) It will be on bookshelves in July from Nobrow Press. [Edited to Add, 5/30/16: Alexis has illustrated this graphic novel, though Geis is still the first he’s both written and illustrated.]

Let me back up a bit and say that I love to see Alexis’s work, and I was happy to see he’d done a graphic novel. (I just read this 2014 Guardian piece about him and very much enjoyed it, if anyone wants to learn a bit more about him.) This is what the publisher calls a supernatural historical fantasy and is the first in a trilogy. Readers are promised at the book’s close that “soon” we will be able to read Book Two, A Game Without Rules.

The book opens with the death of the great chief, Matarka. Her will declares that “there would be a contest. Fate would choose the one fit to take her place.” Calling upon the Gods, fifty souls are summoned at night — to the confusion of everyone. Thus begins the contest to see who will become the ruler of the island.

A young girl in a blue dress is our heroine. She is mystified as to why she was chosen and is surrounded by the likes of the Chief Judge, the High Priestess, the Lord Chamberlain, the Grand Wizard (who is, refreshingly, a woman of color), and more. At the beginning of the competition, all fifty contestants are scattered forth across the kingdom—they are literally flung out in many directions—and told they must return “before the light of the next dawn touches the castle door.” Things are complicated, however, by a sorceress, and Deacon takes readers in and out amongst the various contestants’ adventures. Our heroine does quite well for herself, but I won’t give too much away. It ends on a cliffhanger, and there’s lots more action to come.

Deacon’s artwork is beautiful, elegant. I already mentioned I’m a fan, right? But to see him do such finely-detailed work in a graphic novel is remarkable. The palette is dominated by primarily soft, pastel hues, and his lines are both precise and fluid. He paces the book well and sets a mood both mysterious and sinister — but always riveting and quite entertaining. I was bummed to see the story end. (For now.)

Enough of my rambling. Let’s look at some art!

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GEIS: A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH. Copyright © 2016 by Alexis Deacon. Illustrations used by permission of the publisher, Nobrow Press, London.


Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) It’s summer for my girls! This means some moderate adjusting of my work-at-home schedule, but it also means more time to see them and read more books together.

2) I visited third-graders this week and talked to them about writing, and I read their own stories. (They “published” their own picture books in-house!) I also read picture books to first-graders, which was pretty fantastic.

3) Doing story time in Parnassus’s new space. (They’ve expanded the store and doubled its size.) I also saw some pretty special piggies, but more on that later.

4) Paul Simon’s new CD is at NPR’s First Listen, and IT IS SO GOOD.

5) My book club. We sometimes even read picture books to each other.

6) I really loved this Q&A with Sherman Alexie, especially where he talks about seeing The Snowy Day for the first time. I’ve read Thunder Boy Jr. in more than one story time this week, and children love it.

7) Seeing the work my daughters brought home from the school year, especially their writing.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #485: Featuring Alexis Deacon”

  1. Good morning, Imps!

    Hi Alexis! Thank you for sharing your artwork. (And thanks Jules for featuring a graphic novel!)

    Jules: Happy summer to you and yours. Yay for book club, yay for story time, yay for visits and writing and reading!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Putting it together
    2) New music
    3) Walks
    4) Talks
    5) Stories
    6) Solved
    7) Sure

  2. What haunting illustrations. Wow. My older kids always want scary books.
    Jules, yay for summer, a.larger space at a book store, and book clubs.
    My kicks:
    1. Taking grandgirl to a production of A Year with Frog and Toad. Three of my students were in the play along with the PE teacher’s son. The theater company that puts these plays on is for 6-18 year olds and is so fantastic.
    2. Watching grandgirl enjoy our pool. Opened this weekend.
    3. Finished Girl on a Train.
    4. Gathering for college friends today.
    5. Strawberries.
    6. Hummingbird nest at school.
    7. School.
    Have a great week.

  3. LW: We crossed paths. Love stories, talks, and walks.

  4. Love the color palette of today’s artwork, it looks like a gripping read.

    Jules – yay for summer and more time with your girls!

    LW- walks, talks, putting it together & sure are all great kicks.

    Jone – how fun to be able to take your grandgirl to a play where you know some of the performers. Swimming pools, humming bird nests, strawberries & college friends sounds like a wonderful weekend.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Got to celebrate a good friend & mentee’s law school graduation yesterday. So proud of her, & happy to celebrate her accomplishment with friends & family.
    2) Getting my hair done yesterday. I have a great stylist & salon & love hanging out with them.
    3) The Storm by Akiko Miyakoshi, & Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell were perfect going away presents for my friend’s kids since they are relocating to Hawaii. And all thanks to 7 Imp!
    4) The first bloom opened on my Lady of Shalott roses & its so lovely.
    5) New Netflix addiction, the very R rated series Saving Grace. I love Holly Hunter.
    6) Good friend helping me fix a doorknob. (I installed it backwards.) Love my friends.
    7) Fun plans with friends for the rest of the weekend.
    7.5) Snuggles with Daisy.

    Have a safe and fun long weekend Imps!

  5. Little Willow: New music you wrote?!

    Jone: When is your school year over? Did you like Girl on a Train? … Our favorite pool closed last year. Must find a new one.

    Rachel: Thanks to Facebook, I saw your first two happy kicks in images! I love your third kick, too. … Isn’t Saving Grace an older show? Why do I think I’ve seen part of it? Also, have you watched Lady Dynamite (or anyone else watched it)? I keep hearing good things about it. … Tonight is Veep, which is one reason I love Sundays.

    Have a good week, you all!

  6. Jules – Saving Grace is older, it only lasted 3 seasons. Holly Hunter plays a hard drinking police detective who has a last-chance angel trying to save her soul. She is very resistant. Its dark but also fun.

    I have heard Lady Dynamite is good but have not had a chance to check it out yet. I love Veep!

  7. That’s what I thought, Rachel. That maybe I’d seen an ep? Or at least heard about it years ago. I’ll have to check it out.

    The hospital/funeral Veep episode from a couple weeks back? OHMYGOD comedy gold.

  8. Jules: I do write music, but this week’s music kick = new songs from songwriters/singers I like.

    Rachel: Now I’m singing A Bicycle Built For Two: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do…

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