By Koppy McFad
Jan 19, 2008 - 0:23
This isn't really so much a comic book as a story told with a lot of pictures including a few pages with comic book-style panels. It tells the tale of how the shark and the octopus have contended for dominion over the oceans and how, one day, the sharks defeated the octopus race, forcing the octopi to enlist the aid of some humans to turn the tables on the sharks.
While this may sound like the premise to a fantasy novel, this book basically just has a few pantomime pages where some silly looking humans mysteriously go underwater and just as mysteriously find the device that allows the octopi to defeat the sharks. It is told without any dialogue and with barely any words except for some text in the beginning and the end.
The art is the main selling point of this book. Many of the pages look like high-quality woodcuts and they do evoke a sense of wonder at world beneath the waves. The octopi in particular, look both frighteniningly alien, but also very familiar.
But the whole tone of the story is a turn-off. The "heroes" of the story turn out to be just as bad as the villains and the humans in the tale are just foolish-looking clowns. The target audience for this book seems to be a mystery. In the middle of the story, a bizarre character interrupts the narrative to basically say "hey kids... buy more Ghostshrimp Press books." Yet the author clearly didn't think any children would be reading this book or he would not have made it so impenetrable or made the characters so unlikeable. If anything, this book appears to be a parody of a normal children's book-- and a rather mean-spirited parody at that. Yet as a parody, it isn't very funny either.
It is a pity that the great art is used for a rather confused story. Maybe this is a good example of why some artists are at their best when they are illustrating other people's stories.