Sing No Evil by J.P Ahonen and K.P Alare
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Genres: Graphic novels, Music, Fantasy, Horror, Fiction
For Fans of: Incredible art, stories that take you by surprise.
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Twenty-something guitarist Aksel stutters when he sings, and the latest reviews say he has the voice of a crow with throat plague. That’s not a compliment, even for the avant-garde music his band Perkeros plays. Aksel is having a hard time keeping the band together, stopping his girlfriend from kicking him out, and not getting eaten by his drummer (who happens to be a cranky brown bear). There are also the rival bands that Perkeros find themselves in battle with to save the city from supernatural forces set loose by ancient music. The key to it all could be in the music Aksel hears in his dreams—if it doesn’t drive him mad first. With a visual soundtrack that blasts off the page, Sing No Evil is a wild ride through otherworldly dangers and the power of pure rock’n’roll.
Dudes. My goal is to someday make graphic novels are good as this.
Let me get this out of the way: The only reason I bought this book was because a friend of mine dumped a copy of it in his own cart and screamed very loudly about how pretty the cover was. I agreed. In my cart it went.
This book has to be one of my favorite impulse book-buys, ever. Not only was the art freaking stunning, but the story, characters and narration are so flipping good as well. Also, the art was magnificent and I strive to be as good as this someday.
Sing No Evil follows Aksel and the rest of his avant-garde heavy metal band as they try to get their big break in the music biz. You’d think that a band with a literal bear as their drummer, this wouldn’t be so difficult, but eh, what do I know? We soon find out that, Drummer Bear notwithstanding, the band isn’t doing well because it’s lead singer (Aksel) can’t sing, and is too proud to hire a lead singer.
I love how the personalities of all these characters seemed to leap off the page. The overall story was very much about Aksel and the power of music, but the side characters had a lot of their own magic. Which was great, because the biggest strength to this story was the inter-character relationships. You wanted to root for these guys. You wanted them to just get over themselves and make this whole band thing work, ya know?
Because the first bit of this was so focused on Aksel’s life, I was pleasantly surprised when the supernatural stuff started happening. Yes. Even with the drummer who was a literal bear. I read Sequential Art. These things happen. Stop judging me!
Despite my surprise, the supernatural stuff was set up pretty early on – and in little bits that peppered the story here and there, so the dramatic spoopy things never seemed like they came left of center.
I’m not gonna say anymore, now – mostly because there’s not much else I can say that won’t completely give away a lot of cows. But dudes, I know I said this earlier, but this graphic novel is exactly the sort of thing I want to be making in the future – beautiful art and layered, well-written stories – and I love, love, love it when I find books that I can say this about. It sets a bar, and it inspires – can’t get any better than that.