Bad Island

British artist Stanley Donwood whips us through the history of an island, from the dawn of life to the destruction of mankind.

Cover of Bad Island by Stanley Donwood

Even if you don’t know his name, you’ve probably seen some Stanley Donwood art, thanks to his long collaboration with Radiohead – he designed all the band’s record covers from their first release in 1994 through to 2007’s In Rainbows. However, he’s also produced plenty of art of his own, and his latest work is the graphic novel Bad Island.

This wordless story follows the ‘life’ of an island. We first see it from afar but, as we zoom in, plants and animals start colonising it. Donwood travels through time quickly, showing us dinosaurs and their apocalyptic end, through some interesting in-between species, and eventually, coming out of the shadows, humanity arrives. Man quickly destroys the natural environment and builds his own habitats on the island, but peace doesn’t last long.

It’s a short journey through history and beyond, but there are a few surprises on the way, and plenty to look at. Bad Island is due out in the US from W. W. Norton on 27 October 2020.

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