Giramondo/Top Shelf, $20 hb, 96 pp, 9781920882822
The Australian graphic novel, being a fairly new phenomenon, has no unifying aesthetic, no identifiable form. While it is possible to group the characteristics of French, American, and Japanese comics, Australia’s finest exponents are stylistically on their own. Nicki Greenberg crafts adult work from a child’s figurative toolkit, Shaun Tan’s comics are drenched in high fantasy draftsmanship, and Eddie Campbell still operates with the New Wave gumption that swept the comics world of 1980s Britain. Each artist addresses Australia in his or her own fashion, and there is no risk of Australian comics developing their own miniature genres: an equivalent to our inner-city grunge literature, for example, or to the steely, rangy ‘red dust’ short story.