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Blacklung
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Blacklung

by Chris Wright
 

In this graphic novel cartooned by a promising up-and-comer, a schoolteacher and a gangster team up when pirates shanghai them.
Chris Wright’s Blacklung is unquestionably one of the most impressive graphic novel debuts in recent years, a sweeping, magisterially conceived, visually startling tale of violence, amorality, fortitude, and redemption, one part

Overview

In this graphic novel cartooned by a promising up-and-comer, a schoolteacher and a gangster team up when pirates shanghai them.
Chris Wright’s Blacklung is unquestionably one of the most impressive graphic novel debuts in recent years, a sweeping, magisterially conceived, visually startling tale of violence, amorality, fortitude, and redemption, one part Melville, one part Peckinpah. Blacklung is a story that lives up to the term graphic novel, that could only exist in sequential pictures — densely textured, highly stylized, delicately and boldly rendered drawings that is, taken together, wholly original. In a night of piratical treachery when an arrogant school teacher is accidentally shanghaied aboard the frigate Hand, his fate becomes inextricably fettered to that of a sardonic gangster. Dependent on one another for survival in their strange and dangerous new home, the two form an unlikely alliance as they alternately elude or confront the thieves and cutthroats that bad luck has made their companions and captors. After an act of terrible violence, the teacher is brought before the ship’s captain and instructed to use his literary skills to aid him in writing his memoirs. He is to serve as scribe for a man who, in his remaining years, has made it his mission to commit as many acts of evil as possible in order to ensure that he meet his dead wife in hell. As the captain’s protected confidant, finding his only comfort in the few books afforded him, the teacher bears witness to monstrous brutality, relentless cruelty, strange wisdom, and a journey of redemption through loss of faith.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Wright’s grim tale, Isaac, a proud and arrogant schoolteacher of the indeterminate past, manages to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and is shanghaied along with Mose, a career criminal whose skills at wanton brutality are quite impressive. Trapped in a society of questionably sane and unquestionably violent pirates, Isaac is forced to turn to Mose, and later to his captain, for protection against the monsters surrounding Isaac; survival is all he can hope for, as degradation, mutilation, and corruption are inescapable in this new world. Wright’s art, black and white, crude and yet vivid and purposeful, suits the stark, raw world it depicts. The relationship between the intellectual and the pirate is reminiscent of Jack London’s The Sea Wolf; the teacher is a man of ideas trapped in a world where his lofty pretensions have little relevance and where his skills are of little use save to record his inevitable fall. Although a worthy tale, the level of violence may be off-putting to some. (Nov.)
Rob Clough - High-Low
“Chris Wright's Blacklung... feels... like a cancerous tumor that had to be excised from Wright's imagination in order to finally free him of it. ... Wright unleashes the full power of his dense artwork to create a relentlessly grim and oppressive story that is at times a pitch-black satire of both reason and faith.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606995877
Publisher:
Fantagraphics Books
Publication date:
11/22/2012
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
12.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.70(d)

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