David B's second graphic novel to be published after the superb "Epileptic" is a mix of 19 short stories containing illustrations of dreams he's had over several years. "Nocturnal Conspiracies" isn't a novel and the 19 dreams contained have no narrative to them, they are like dreams you and I have put to paper. However David B's dreams are quite disturbing, or at least the ones hes chosen are, and resemble in part William Burroughs' "Naked Lunch" and any Kafka wrote.
We have shady government agents shooting men without faces, a parade of an all women secret cult chanting through a city sized cemetery, Hieronymous Bosch type monsters making a King and Queen have sex and then severing the queen's hands and feet and attaching them to the King's wrists and ankles, we have terrorists in mazes, enormous stick cats whose brains can be eaten and whose empty heads are then ridden, there's a bull guarding the sea, menacing villages, strange portals, and David B himself taking many different forms and actions. So basically like dreams/nightmares in general then.
It's a short book and can be read quickly though I think taking your time and enjoying the artist's amazing and haunting images will be more rewarding. There is no story and each dream follows dream logic so anything can happen. The best thing is seeing David B's tremendous artwork once again after the Byzantine drawings from his first graphic novel. If you're new to David B then I highly recommend "Epileptic" before starting this. As for a follow up to that graphic novel I think he's working on another lengthy piece called "Babel" which I look forward to seeing. Meanwhile we have this, a short but dazzling work for fans of his work and for fans of fantastic artwork.
on 29 January 2011
I really enjoyed Epileptic, especially the strong graphic style, the visual representations of his brother's disease, and the shear scale and scope of the work. It is definitely an impressive achievement.
Nineteen Dreams however had none of that for me. It reminded me of a friend who likes to tell you about their dream last night. Dull. As is always the case the impact and significance of other people's dreams cannot really be captured and is lost in translation, despite the graphic approach in this case.