Page 45 Review by Stephen
"Yes, Bean, it's true.
"We spent some time investigating.
"Humans are moving in."
Ladies and gentlemen, Page 45 presents its Greentea Publishing collection: eight beautiful comics imported direct from Vera Greentea herself in America.
I was always going to review this one first because, what a cover! An immaculate composition using the late autumn silver birch trees with their very last leaves to frame a remote country mansion which is in need of considerable renovation, so proving the perfect home for foxes, racoons, magpies and mice and the most exotic squirrels the world will ever see.
I think they're squirrels. One of their families has cross-bred with a Siamese cat, the other is anyone's guess - but, oh my, they're gorgeous! The former is Pan, the latter is Wraith who's not been a part of their cosy community for a while now.
"Humans came to her previous home and killed her entire family... using food."
The fox is called Frida and she too boasts the bushiest of tails and ever such glossy, well-washed fur.
Within the abandoned home, still fully furnished, some of the plaster has cracked and come down, and the odd weed have taken root, but nests have been built and there's still the odd thing to forage. Just as a gentle mist hangs low outside, so the inside is suffused in soft, floating light and shadow.
ELK's forms are lithe and the animals acrobatic, but are they up to defending their home from human beings when determined? A little lateral thinking may be required.
Greentea generously gives ELK all the room required to both charm and alarm the reader: a self-contained story like this could so easily be overwritten when what we want most is to bathe in its beauty. Instead we are shown all that we need to know, like the alarming arrival of very large lorries, wending their way through the scrubland.
Coming back to the cover, it sang to me of my childhood: of William Backhouse's endpapers to Jane Shaw's retelling of Joel Chandler Harris's 'Uncle Remus Stories'. These were read to me by an Aunt who wasn't an Aunt, but a nurse from Northern Ireland and I'm so sorry she never read to you, because her accent was everything.
"And Br'er Fox, he lay low!"