By Tobias Taitt & Anthony SmithCover to Black by Tobias Taitt and Anthony Smith
Publisher: Soaring Penguin Press
ISBN: 9781908030498

Adapted from Tobias Taitt’s autobiography, this is the story of a young boy failed by his mother and then the care system. Ultimately this would lead to a life of crime, violence and prison, but Anthony Smith’s adaptation shows us the events that set Tobias down that path, up to the edge of adulthood. 

Told with empathy and honesty, it’s a sometimes brutal depiction of just how broken the system designed to help children was (and you can only hope it’s a lot better now). Tobias was never destined to become the man he ended up being, for he was never given the love, attention or guidance to be anything else. Clearly intelligent, but with no way to express himself or break out of the constraints he was in, his reaction to his situation only created more problems.

Anthony’s art is detailed and carefully planned, occasionally relying on minimalistic splash pages to drive a bigger point home. The story is told through Tobias as narrator, so the artwork isn’t a sequence of talking heads and brooding thoughts, but key snapshots to depict the events. This allows Anthony to control the pace of the storytelling to give weight to moments. This includes when Tobias gets drunk at a friend’s house, when not even yet a teenager, before heading to the corner shop – not the greatest of outcomes.

Tobias isn’t an innocent, and some of the choices are his and his alone, but the book skilfully illustrates how all the cards were always stacked against him.

Black is available through Turnaround Publisher Services or direct from

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