Sunday, July 20, 2014

Even the Giants

Even the Giants is a wonderful experiment in geometry, emotion, and silent storytelling. From the snowflakes on the first pages to the first images of igloo building the artist is playing with form and tempo in telling a tale. These frosty pages convey a sense of peril but they communicate a coolness and a sense of unity.
There are multiple narratives happening here, with wordless passages about an Inuit and his dog,
a couple of monstrous giants cavorting and traversing the wastelands,

and a stowaway hiding in the cargo hold of a ship,
all interspersed with individual, surreal comic strips titled "One Million Mouths."
Somehow, elements of all these stories mingle, and even though it is not seemless, a sensational whole emerges from the combination. Feelings of community, isolation, survivalism, love, and loss emanate from the bizarre and stylized blue-toned drawings, and the pages coalesce in a way that highlights much craft and a deft storytelling touch. This book begs to be read and re-read, and it is rewardingly nuanced and detailed.

This was the impressive graphic novel debut of Jesse Jacobs, a Canadian artist with works in many areas including on the Adventure Time cartoon, skateboards, and gallery art. He has since published other graphic novels, By This Shall You Know Him and Safari Honeymoon. He was also honored with the 2008 Gene Day Award for Self-Publishing. He speaks more about his career and work on this book in this interview.

All the reviews I have read about this book have been full of praise for its art and atmospheric qualities. The Comics Journal's Hayley Campbell praised it as "simple, sweet and a fine debut from an artist who makes beautiful and strange art that is instantly recognizable as his own." George at Crossover Comics called it "a beautifully stylized book" that seems "like a wonderful discovery the moment you pick it up." Grant Buist summed it up as "a sweet, surreal tale."

A preview and more about Even the Giants is available here from AdHouse Books.

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