Sunday, 19 June 2011

Isle of 100,000 Graves

Action Ash
This year I've been getting into the works of the Norwegian cartoonist Jason. I had seen his books around and online and they had always intrigued me with their animal characters and their simplistic, minimalist aesthetic. I finally gave in to curiosity and bought The Left Bank Gang, and I was not disappointed, which lead to me also purchasing The Last Musketeer. Now I'm a fan and have been waiting anxiously for his latest offering to be released, which it was last week.

The story is that of a young girl named Gwenny (often referred to as "that ugly little girl") who recruits a pirate crew to take her to the Isle of 100,000 Graves so she can find out what happened to her missing father. While there, it is discovered the island is home to a school for executioners and torturers and that is where the adventure really begins.

Isle of 100,000 Graves is the first work of Jason's to be written by someone other than himself. Boy, did he choose a good one! The scribe for this comedic pirate adventure story is none other than French comic writer Fabien Vehlmann, writer of the WWII adventure drama 7 Psychopaths (you can the bad guy's review of that here). Vehlmann and Jason seem to share the same sense of humour. As I was reading the story it seemed so much like the previous Jason books I had devoured. Also the pacing was very similar, which made me wonder if Vehlmann was trying his hardest to write a "Jason" story. However, thinking back on 7 Psychopaths I can easily see the similarity in pacing and humour and, also, could totally imagine it being illustrated by Jason. Although that would completely change the tone, so wonderfully set by Sean Phillips.

Visually it is much the same as Jason's other works, which in my opinion are stunning in their simplicity. The sparse composition of the panels, the 'ligne claire' art style (yeah, I just got pretentious on yo' ass) and the fantastic use of negative space all add to the understated, dead pan wit of the tale.

A fun and entertaining adventure that just goes towards further proving the talent of these men.

5 ugly little girls blackmailing dead pan pirates out of 5