The Arctic Marauder

Posted: 30th May 2011 by 7ucyClark in book, comics, cultural, design, geek stuff, review

If Scooby Doo and Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines had a baby.  And it grew up French and Steam Punk.

A graphic novel by Jacques Tardi; the work was originally produced in 1974, but has been retranslated for the 2011 reprint.  And for this I am much pleased; I don’t speak French.
The  work is unique in many regards, not the least of which is the style of illustration: every panel looks like an intricately crafted woodcut.  Tardi apparently used scratchboard to create the effect, and the result is enthralling; it creates a sense of depth not often seen in your traditional illustrated novel [read: comic book].  And each panel is saturated in detail… each flake of snow individually rendered, every tooth on a cog, or brick in a building carefully etched.  One of my favorite elements is an piece of decor’: a mantel clock, the housing of which is adorned with a skeletal drum beater.  Yes– lovely imagery.
The story is pretty cool, too– all the intrigue and conspiracy you can eat, comfortably packed in a tidy 63 pages… replete with anti-heros, and anti-anti-heros. While it does follow (roughly) certain literary formulas, the work definitely isn’t formulaic.

As this is the first example of Tardi’s work that I’ve been exposed to, I’m not familiar with his work… but based on the strength of this, I’m certainly inclined to check out his other efforts.

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