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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reader's Diary #750- Nicolas de Crécy and translated by Joe Johnson: Glacial Period

As we've just booked tickets to France for the March break (I know, it's a long ways off), I'll probably be working in a lot more French books until then. Well, translations anyway-- those Rosetta Stone lessons haven't paid off just yet.

Nicolas de Crécy's Glacial Period was brought to this side of the Atlantic by NBM Publishing's Comic Lit imprint, who according to them provide "the most intelligent comics the world has to offer." No wonder that Glacial Period is one of those most intelligent of comics, it was written and drawn by Nicolas de Crécy, the "mad genius."

I know I've been called the hyperbole police before but I actually think that these claims of grandeur are quite smart. The defense against poor reviews are built right in. Don't like Glacial Period? Perhaps you are too dumb. But I'll bite anyway. Maybe I'm too dumb, or maybe I've seen the emperor in the nude. Either way, I don't mind going on record saying I didn't much enjoy Glacial Period.

I did enjoy the premise: set thousands of years into the future, during a glacial period, the Louvre like the rest of human history has been buried under ice and forgotten. When a group of archeologists, including talking dogs, stumble upon it, they have no idea how to interpret the artifacts they find. They try anyway and most guesses are way off base, often silly.

I also enjoyed the artwork. Water coloured, eccentric caricatures, I was reminded the wonderful Triplets of Belleville. I'm not sure how de Crécy would feel about that. It turns out that he accused Sylvain Chomet, the principle animator of that movie, of plagiarism from an earlier de Crécy graphic novel.

But beyond the premise and artwork, the story was a bit of a mess. Characters were set up to be villains, then did nothing villainous. Seeds of love stories were planted, but nothing grew. Even interpersonal growth was minimal, despite the promise. Like the publishers, however, de Crécy has his defense built right into the storyline. Trying interpret his art? There's a good chance you're way off base, often silly.

Perhaps a cynical point, perhaps even a surprising angle to take for a artist who chooses to share his work, perhaps I'm wrong about everything. I didn't like it in any case. Did I say that already?

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