Her Bark and Her Bite
Created by James Albon.
How far can a fun relationship take you when it impedes your art—and to what lengths are you willing to go to maintain that relationship? These are the questions Rebecca must ask herself as she looks to find her place in a new city and make a living as an artist in the sometimes romantic, sometimes introspective Her Bark and Her Bite, by critically-acclaimed artist and writer James Albon.
Shortly after moving to the city and moving in with her drab and boring cousin, Rebecca begins trying to find her place in a vibrant, eclectic art scene. Soon though, her world starts to revolve around the mysterious Victor, an eccentric partier clad in incredibly loud shirts (and the occasional cape) who drifts from project to project as easily as he drifts from bar to bar.
After a few chance encounters, Rebecca and Victor get a chance to take a night on the town. The pair move through the city encountering Victor’s many acquaintances until finally they arrive at Victor’s home away from home–the fabulous Le Chien Mort club (best to keep the name in mind for its foreshadowing), where the popular people go to dance and drink and be merry.
As Rebecca is introduced to Victor’s friends and lifestyle based on his personal pursuit of happiness—however fleeting that may be—Albon’s work truly shines. Portrayed in color pencil with soft lines to define the edges, most scenes feature large crowds with laughing faces that are barely there and limbs and clothes that blend into one another. He portrays the chaos of a genuine nightlife, where fun and art intersect.
Rebecca falls headlong into the lifestyle, in love with Victor, happy with the hedonistic popularity a man like him brings, and beginning to find her footing in the art world.
However, cracks start to show in her relationship with Victor. In contrast to the crowded scenes at the clubs and galleries, when the two of them are together by themselves, even the smallest physical distances betray the great emotional distance between them.
The camel’s back finally breaks when Victor’s best friend—and Rebecca’s worst enemy—Penelope gives Victor a dog, Princess. As Victor is wont to do, his obsessions with poetry (his latest artistic pursuit) and Rebecca begin to wane in favor of Princess. Increasingly dissatisfied, Rebecca tries to distract herself as much as she can, throwing herself alternatively into her art and into the nightlife, seeking solace in either.
Ultimately, on a rare night alone with Princess, Rebecca finds the dog has destroyed her art and, in return, Rebecca does something unforgivable.
It’s a tale of love and betrayal, of responsibility to work versus obligation to friends and fun, of deciding what’s right for an individual, not in a moralistic sense. There’s debauchery and self-reflection aplenty as Rebecca narrates her tale and shows us her bite.