Marco Polo: Dangers and Visions

Marco Tabilio, trans. from the Italian by Kerstin Schwandt. Graphic Universe, $11.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5124-3069-1
At the beginning of the 14th century, the Venetian Marco Polo accompanied his father and uncle through Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Persia to the court of the Great Khan. They returned to Venice, then set out again for the Khan’s court, where Marco served for nearly 20 years. Based on the Travels of Marco Polo, Italian illustrator Tabilio’s acccount doubles back and forth in time through Marco’s life, peopling his graphic novel with thinly outlined, empty-eyed figures and writing in blunt prose (“Venice is a salty hole,” Marco tells a Mongol courtier). Panel sequences follow Marco on sea voyages and desert treks, through battles and privations (“When there is nothing to eat,” Marco says about the Mongols, “a warrior opens the vein of his horse and drinks the blood”). Renaissance-style maps accentuate the strangeness of unfamiliar lands with flat perspective. Followed in the book from boyhood to old age, Marco is tender, steely, ready for battle, and open to love. Though dense and sometimes hard to follow, the resulting epic casts a spell; readers won’t soon forget Marco’s kaleidoscopic journey—or the miracle that he survived to tell his story. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 208 pages - 978-1-5124-1182-9
Hardcover - 978-1-5124-2702-8
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