Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"One by one, towards the end of the second week, the crewmembers died, some of cold, others of exposure, exhaustion, and melancholy."
It's a hard life aboard the good ship Page 45, let me tell you!
Anyway... avast there, me hearties, prepare to have your timbers shivered and your soul sent down to Davey Jones' Locker for a laugh-a-minute look at the high seas this is not. No. In fact, after reading this dour drove of cautionary tales regarding life, well death, on the ocean waves, I think this land lubber will be steering well clear of coastal climes for many a moon. Which is very possibly what the creator intended, dear reader, but fear ye not as I'm sure you sequential art mariners are made of far sterner stuff than I...
Here's the publisher to tip you the black spot and mark you guilty of perusing comics for your own piratical pleasure...
"MEN AT SEA is an opus of eight spectacularly drawn dark, poetic stories freely adapted by Riff Reb's. This collection offers: 'A Smile of Fortune,' from Joseph Conrad, 'The Sea Horses' and 'The Shamraken Homeward Bound,' from William Hope Hodgson, 'The Galley Slaves' and 'The Far South,' from Pierre Mac Orlan, 'A Descent into the Maelstrom,' from Edgar Allan Poe, 'The Three Customs Officers,' from Marcel Schwob, and 'The Shipwreck,' from Robert Louis Stevenson.
These eight tales, themselves interspersed by seven double-page spreads dedicated to extracts from illustrated classics, deliver a rich, poetic, and masterfully crafted work of life and death on the sea."
That they do. Particularly death... I think you do probably need to be a big fan of the briny foam or illustrated classics to fully appreciate these tales. The slightly exaggerated art style and limited colour palettes used throughout perfectly highlight the fearsome, ferocious, all-powerful nature of the oceans and one's chances of survival if you find yourself in a salty scrape, be that confronting a veracious vortex or just stoically dealing with a sinking ship.
Time for this man to go overboard and swim swiftly on to the next review, but before you read that, you might want to muse on Nick Hayes' socially satirical THE RIME OF THE MODERN MARINER, which was a decade ahead of David Attenborough when it came to pointing out what we've done to our oceans with plastics.