Sunday, March 31, 2013

Isaac the Pirate vol. 1

This is another delightful French graphic novel.  Christophe Blain’s somewhat rustic drawing style works very well with his world of 18th century pirates, artists and aristocrats.  It’s nice to have a nod to French-speaking pirates; after all the world buccaneer comes from boucanier, something I think they even reference in this volume.  Isaac the artist who is lured aboard ship by an idiosyncratic doctor is a great character, and as he gets further and further from France’s shores, the way he’s drawn speaks volumes about his mental state.  (A similar technique, I think, to that employed by George O’Connor in Journey into Mohawk Country.)
Equally memorable is his fiancée Alice who reminds me of Agnes in Fate, an educated woman of a certain class (ie, not an aristocrat).  You have to root wholeheartedly for the straightforward love and cohabitation of Isaac and Alice, wanting them to remain true to each other despite the temptation thrown in the path of each (such as the lovely and sympathetic ladies of Port Royal).  Alice, forced by economic necessity once the money Isaac has left her runs out, to become a charwoman and then a clerk to a handsome and rather charming (though highly sexed as all these 18th century people seem to be) aristocrat wrestles with loyalty and abiding love and the gratifications and gratefulness of the present.

Issac the Pirate has some beautiful moments, and given that I like pirates, the Age of Sail, artists, and the 18th century, there is very little negative I could say about it.  Blain clearly has a strong narrative sense and excellent storyboarding skills which supplant any necessity for photo-perfect draftsmanship.  I definitely want to find out what happens in part 2.    

No comments: