Set to Sea

By Drew Weing (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-1-60699-368-2

Sometimes it’s terribly easy to review a new graphic novel. Sometimes they’re simply a good strong tale, beautifully told and universally appealing.

One such is the delightful, genuinely stirring saga of an indigent poet and aspiring barfly with a taste for maritime verse, whose lack of true inspiration is cured when he is press-ganged aboard a Hong-Kong Clipper and forcibly learns the true life of a mariner.

Initially resistant to a life afloat, a terrifying brush with death opens his eye and he accepts the only life he could ever truly enjoy, and even manages, whilst traversing the world for joyous, raucous decades, to satisfy his artistic leanings into the bargain…

Magically circular in structure and beautifully drawn in a homagic blend of Elzie Segar, traditional woodcut prints and, I suspect, a touch of the wonderful Tony Millionaire (see E.C. Segar’s Popeye and Drinky Crow’s Maakies Treasury) this superb rough ‘n’ tumble black and white hardcover collects the impressive online comic into a salty, panel-per-page paean to the gaining of true experience over romantic fantasy, and even manages to be a telling examination of the role of the arts in life.

What more do you need to know? Any lover of a dream-life and fresh yet solid entertainment simply must read this book… Captain’s Orders…

© 2010 Drew Weing. All Rights Reserved.