I’ve never met Hannah Berry, but the thing that has always struck me from her online presence (and a somewhat reluctant one!), is that she comes across as such a lovely person: level-headed, and funny and -this is important- having a life beyond comics. But that doesn’t really tell you much about her work, apart from the fact that it’s nice to have creators you admire as people too. So here we go: Berry has had two books published to date, Britten and Brulightly, and Adamtine- both from stalwart British publishers, Jonathan Cape and both are vastly different.
Being a crime/mystery fan, I remember picking up Britten and Brulightly and being totally immersed in the completeness of the gloomy noir, water-colour world Berry had created. I know, you’re thinking ‘noir’ -how overused is that word? But this is no ordinary noir, as the silky tones of M&S would remind us, this is a detective with a talking teabag for a partner. And the ending…. that ending, one of the most unexpected I’ve ever read. You should definitely get ahold of a copy, I promise it will be unlike anything you’ve come across in comics.
Last year, Berry released Adamtine, in which she changed genre completely (a choice I admire greatly). Adamtine is a horror. but not the slash or creep kind: it’s all suggestion and what you don’t see (the first 20 pages or so of that book are available for free to download on her site if you’re interested). Berry has a way of drawing her characters with large square, sombre faces, big noses and hooded eyes that gives them an air of melancholy and unknowability: you never get the idea something good is about to happen in a Hannah Berry comic. I don’t know if she’s working on another long-form work at the moment, but I hope so, and I hope she continues to surprise and excel as always.