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Audubon, On The Wings Of The World

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  868 ratings  ·  189 reviews
At the start of the nineteenth century, John James Audubon embarked upon an epic ornithological quest across America with nothing but his artist’ s materials, an assistant, a gun and an all-consuming passion for birds...

This beautiful volume tells the story of an incredible artist and adventurer: one who encapsulates the spirit of early America, when the wilderness felt
Hardcover, 174 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Nobrow Press (first published 2016)
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David Schaafsma
Jérémie Royer discovered the work of famed ornithological illustrator John James (or Jean Jacques) Audubon and contacted author Fabien Grolleau about collaborating on an illustrated biography of Audubon, who after failing in various kinds of conventional business pursuits, obsessively followed his dream of finding and painting as many American birds (and some animals) as he could. Audubon saw himself as a scientist, but American naturalists preferred to support the more “scientific” approach of ...more
The drawings are gorgeous, but the words fall rather short. This means that my favorite panels were the text-free ones that simply show landscapes or large groups of birds, such as one of the legendary millions-strong flocks of passenger pigeons that took days to cross the sky. The book draws on Audubon’s letters, journal and illustrations to trace his travels across America. His encounters with nature are much more powerful than those with other people, though – with the exception of an ...more
Stewart Tame
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Lovely biography!

You can pretty much tell what to expect from this book just from the cover: a lovingly drawn, colorful, comic book biography of John James Audubon. And it doesn't disappoint. It's not concerned with Audubon's younger days so much as his life from the time he began painting birds onward. The writers admit that parts of this book are possibly untrue. Audubon's writings were used as primary sources in creating this, but he'd been known to stretch the truth a time or two. And at
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed, august-2017
I admire the artwork here far more than the prose. The natural world, and the many creatures featured have been beautifully captured. The human characters, however, have an oddly jarring cartoonish feel to them, and I did not feel as though the whole fitted together perhaps as well as it could have. The prose lets it down too; at times too flowery, and at others too matter-of-fact, it never really strikes a balance. The story, however, and historical context are largely fascinating.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was intensely disappointing and I fear that any lengthy review of it by myself would come across as overly harsh. The only positive thing I can say about it is that I enjoyed the art style. As far as the story, it took vast creative liberties but somehow made the story of his life less compelling and coherent. They also seemed to miss a lot of his core personality and injected their own worldview which baffled me quite a lot. Unfortunately I would have to say if you have any interest ...more
Rod Brown
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
When I think of John James Audubon I immediately default to pretty pictures of birds, never thinking about how obsessive and troubled a person would have to be to pursue a life’s passion to the degree he did and how hard he would be to live with. I thought I was in for a fascinating study of a complex person. Unfortunately, this "creative reimagining" has too many fantastical elements throughout, including an extended fever dream. (I HATE dream sequences.) And the narrative skips decades trying ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
I love birds. I really enjoying bird watching and discovered who John James Audubon is because of my love of birds. I have read a few books about Audubon and love reading about his obsession with birds. It was a true obsession. I discovered through (the website for birding not for the man) that there was a graphic novel out there all about James Audubon's life. Honestly this comic book fell short of being great. The story could be confusing at times. For example there was a time when ...more
What a fantastic book! Creative, artistically impressive, and very informative. I'm a birdwatcher and a fan of Audubon's extensive work. I have a birdwatching book that's documented with all of the birds that visit our yard. I can identify these birds thanks to Audubon, who devoted his life to ornithology. This graphic novel illustrates Audubon's adventures from Canada, Missouri, New Orleans, Great Britain, and finally, his return home. Sure. There are some embellishments. (Most I understand. A ...more
Audubon: "There is so much loss of wildlife due to settlers! It's terrible!"
Also Audubon: *kills rare birds to paint them and make people appreciate them more*

I've long been aware of Audubon's beautiful bird paintings. This graphic novel biography -- re-imagined but using many primary sources -- shines a light on many of his struggles and flaws: An obsessiveness that led him to leave his wife and children and ignore his physical health. A rivalry with fellow bird painter Alexander Wilson and,
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The authors acknowledge that they whitewashed some aspects of the story. I appreciated the disclaimer. Other than that, I loved this gorgeously illustrated biography.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The timeline jumps around quite a bit, so some scenes were confusing as to their place in the timeline. Otherwise, the art was whimsical and inspiring, and Audubon's story and character were engaging. I appreciated the inclusion of historical events of the time, such as an allusion to the Civil War and an encounter with runaway slaves. I also appreciated the breakdown at the end of what parts of the story were fictionalized and where the information came from.

Once again, nonfiction comics
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
Yes, I love birds and the great outdoors, but I knew very little of John James Audubon. This turned out to be a perfect introduction. In the early 19th century, Audubon began to comb the American wilderness, in search of birds, which he meticulously documented. An artist and adventurer, who firmly placed nature, above everything else, sadly, to the detriment of his family.
His meeting with Darwin, during a visit to England is priceless. This is a beautifully illustrated volume, that I can not
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Graphical story of John James Audubon's life's work, 'Birds of America'. Also about environmental degradation, which was an issue even during Audubon's time in the early 19th century. The notes & short biography at the back of the book also make for good reading, and make me want to read more about him.
Liz Yerby
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nobrow putting out gorgeous work again.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
The illustrations are beautiful but Audubon was a dick so it was a bit of a hard read.
Holly Law
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this book absolutely delightful. I know nothing about Audubon so can’t comment on how accurate the portrayal is. However, it has served as an introduction to this historical figure and if I choose I can do my own research, I wouldn’t expect anything more than a piqued interest from a graphic novel.

I’m left with a slight pain at the thought of the mass extinction for which humans are to blame. Yet also a sense of wonder at the natural environment, and a reminder I should get my arse
Andrew Blok
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes, when my guy-who-likes-baseball-and-sometimes-likes-to-stay-up-later-than-he-should-following-an-entirely-unengaging-digital-representation-of-what's-going-on-in-a-game-halfway-or-all-the-way-across-the-country equivalent of spidey sense goes off and I think the Mariner's have a chance of winning an interesting game, I'll stay up, read, and follow the Mariners out of the corner of my eye. Last night's game was maybe the best of the year, and the book I read was thoroughly enjoyable, ...more
Michael Kocinski
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve read so many fantastic historical graphic narratives recently but none of them surpasses the artistry or whimsy of this retelling of Audubon’s adventures in the American wilderness, collecting and painting the birds of the new world. The story is compact and does gloss over some his family history and financial troubles. But the drawings are gorgeous, and Audubon’s persistence and zeal come to life. Highly recommended.
Really, the only thing I learned from this book was that John James Audubon was a huge asshole & doesn’t deserve to have this or any other book dedicated to him. I mean, nice art, dude, but maybe refrain from killing inordinate amounts of bison for fun? Or maybe, like, don’t turn the fugitive slave and his family in to his former master? Just a thought.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: it-got-pictures
very very VERY beautiful art, I asked around, apparently he is very popular. just really interesting biography of an ornithologist, and, again, beautifully drawn, very very good art there. im basically rating it so high just for the art Also ALSO THE CONVERSATION ABT EVOLUTION AND THEN FOUR PAGES LATER WE FIND OUT THIS IS YOUNG DARWIN I HAD AN OOOOIOIOOOOOOIO Moment
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book about an usual historical character. Not quite as beautiful as the illustrations of birds that he drew but a great introduction to his life. There's some interesting further information at the end.
If you've never seen a copy of Audubon birds of america, I'd highly recommend it.
I liked the book, I love that it made me know the Audubon work that is astonish and it's a beautiful story, if you love drawing you probably will enjoy it but if you are trigger by hunting or animal killing maybe approach it with caution.
Aug 20, 2019 added it
A good read if you approach it as fiction. Art was lovely though!
A beautifully illustrated, creatively told biography of Audubon that captures his wandering, erratic nature.
Juli Anna
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Beautiful and haunting. I don't think the book addressed Audubon's gleeful killing of birds well enough, though.
Colleen Earle
A cool look at an interesting biography! I definitely want to read more about Audubon now!
The art was lovely and so was the story.
Such a delightful book!
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Beautiful artwork; the text is somewhat lacking.
Visually stunning, as much so as 'Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage'. I have mixed feelings on the storytelling, however.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-shelf
Beautiful and accurate graphic novel on the life & works of John James Audubon. Five stars.
I would assume that a biographical graphic novel would try to paint its subject in a positive light. But all I got from this was the feeling that Audubon was a person with a single-minded and crazed devotion to hunting and drawing birds. He seems to have no regard for anything except this, even leaving his wife and children behind for years at a time in the pursuit of his passion. Maybe I would have felt differently if someone else had written the book and painted him as less aloof and uncaring ...more
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ABQ Graphic Novel...: * February 3, 2018-Audubon: on the wings of the world 1 8 Jan 24, 2018 09:23AM  

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