The Earthbound God is a fantasy graphic novel by Anthea West which follows the journey of two hunters into the mountains in search of a powerful creature!
Yaeya and Eusha go hunting after the elusive Earthbound God Mij, which are spirits that become bound to the earth when they take over the form of another animal to suit their needs. These gods are unable to return to their realm so they become the tribes peoples superstitions, deities and are feared as deamons. The heart of these gods can cure any illness hence why they are sought after, the heart is the objective of the trek into the mountains during winter but will it be worth the risk for Eusha and Yaeya? That’s the premise of West’s debut graphic novel!
Overall the story was a very enjoyable read despite the beginning of the novel feeling a bit slow. However once the journey got going I was pulled into it and found myself unable to stop reading it.
From the outset of the story you can’t help but form a connection with the two main characters Yaeya and Eusha, and the relationship that grows and develops between them feels very real and one that we can all relate to in some aspect. West excels at pulling you into her world, the frozen plains and backdrops encroach around you and finding yourself huddled up clutching the pages (yes I did do it) is a testament to her descriptive illustrations and the world she creates. I’ve always been a bit of a picky reader and if I can’t find myself drawn into the world (in this case literally), if I can’t warm to the characters or become part of the story then the book is quickly added to a pile of ‘will read later’… this is not the case with ‘The Earthbound God’.
The plot of the story is pretty strong and despite the slow start, it ends up running at a decent pace holding back from giving it all away too soon, something I was a little surprised by as I’m a big fan of knowing what’s coming around the final corner. The entire story folds smoothly into the timeline of the hunt instead of feeling like the blocks of beginning, middle and end have been seperated.
This is aided immensely by the flow of the panels, West’s delicate construction of each page allows the reader to follow every detail without confusion or becoming bogged down. It’s something comics and graphic novels tend to lack or even overlook sometimes, panels should guide the reader in the right direction without overloading their senses. The Earthbound God is a solid read that doesn’t over complicate anything while also avoiding the trap of over simplifying, West has found the balance and she manages to carry it through the whole story.
If anything stood out as a negative for me and this is purely from a subjective stance, it would have to be the dialogue between Yaeya and Eusha. I understand that it wanted to come across as carefree but for me it felt like it was forced a little too hard, sometimes it’s better to say nothing than force a conversation but perhaps it was early jitters or nerves as in the latter half of the novel there is an improvement.
Moving on to the good stuff, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the artwork. It wasn’t like the typical graphic novel that I would read, it had a visual style that incorporated western art mixed with manga and this in turn can be contributed to the rounded edges when it came to the character depictions. The artwork to me was reminiscent of the artwork for Avatar: The Last Airbender. The depiction of the Earthbound God itself was amazing, you could tell that the design took a lot of thought and it had the artists flair all over it. Another thing that I believe that gave the artwork that extra special touch was the use of grey scale, since the story is set in winter, grey scale seems like the perfect choice and it adds so much to the story itself with the characters blending into the snowy scenes and winter backdrops.
The extra pages of concept art and background material was a lovely touch!
So where does this leave ‘The Earthbound God’? Overall I would have to say it’s an enjoyable and engaging read and I hope that this is only the start of things to come from Anthea West as she leaves her footprints on the Irish comic scene.
Pre-orders are available and The Earthbound God should be available this June or alternativaly you can buy and download a digital print here!
Anthea will also be present in the Comics Corner of the ArcadeCon Trade Hall!
For more information on Anthea and her work please click the following links: