cover image The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott

Zoe Thorogood. Avery Hill, $16.95 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-910395-56-1

Thorogood’s impressive, prickly debut features struggling young British painter Billie Scott, who has just landed her first gallery show when she interrupts two bullies in an alley, gets punched in the head, and starts losing her vision. Determined to complete “ten portraits of ten interesting people” before her eyes fail her, she sets out on the rail line and makes her way to London in search of subjects. Her rambling quest takes her through a bachelorette party that busts through on the train, a homeless shelter, a junkyard encampment, and other personality-filled hangouts. Forced out of her comfort zone, Billie learns to truly see others and develops a special bond with Rachel, a busker trying to launch a music career. Thorogood’s art retains rough edges, and over the course of the narrative develops an arrestingly cluttered, high-energy style suggestive of Paul Pope and Farel Dalrymple. Billie, a rumpled figure sporting freckles, a baseball cap, and wary eyes, stalks through pages packed with startlingly fresh details and buzzy atmosphere, with patches of spot color adding variety. This expansive story of an artist’s journey embraces both the power of art and human connection and showcases a new comics talent. (Oct.)