Cree by Una
What is a cree? It is a refuge, a place of safety, of escape. Somewhere you can go to make and mend and hide from the wearing down of the world; the pressures of work, family fallouts or worse. Maybe it is a place to talk and meet, maybe it is a place to be alone. It’s a garden shed, a spare room. A bit like the one I am sitting in now.
I picked up Cree on a whim really, it had a glowing recommendation from Page 45 – not something to be taken lightly – so I ordered a copy. Needless to say you will not find any skrulls or indeed Captain Marvel within the pages of Cree. Instead you can go on a much more interesting trip, to County Durham.
The Cree in this tale is a group that meets in the Just for Women Centre in Stanley, County Durham.. the centre is a shop, a community resource – a place where women can drop in, have a cuppa and a chat. A place where you can get help with bureaucracy but most of all a place to be with others, with friends.
Una has gone on her own journey to get there. Coming from what sounds like a tough place to find independence and her courage. And a literal bus journey (very welcome, there are nowhere near enough buses in comics.)
People talk about blue sky thinking, but they don’t really know what it means. It’s not about dreaming ideals, it’s about being, doing, struggling, sharing, making…Unearthing yourself a little at a time day after day.
The art in Cree uses bold colours. The cree is a place of colour and warmth. So too is the countryside that Una travels through to get there. The bold shapes of the cover are echoed by the blocks and buildings in Stanley. Like Malevich took a trip to County Durham.
Leo Baxendale aside, comics doesn’t always excel at realistic depictions of working class life in Britain, this book is very much the exception. Cree is warm, wise and one of the best books I’ve read this year.