The Clouds Above

Jordan Crane, Author . Fantagraphics $16.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-56097-627-1

Crane has made his reputation with subtle, heart-tuggingly depressive comics like The Last Lonely Saturday and Keeping Two , so his new project is a delightful surprise: a rip-roaring adventure about a kid named Simon, who skips school one day with his cat, Jack, and climbs a magic staircase leading skyward. There, they encounter a sad cloud named Perch and get mixed up in a conflict involving him, some nasty storm clouds and an irritable flock of birds. Crane's story piles absurdity on delicious absurdity, operating with the peculiarly linear logic of children's storytelling. Everything's exciting, even if it doesn't make much sense, and the dialogue is witty and bubbly ("Don't say fall when we're up so high," Jack tells Simon. "Say autumn"). Crane has a sense of all of his characters' body language—Jack may talk, but his motion and expressions are totally catlike, and the shifting expressions and indistinct, grasping limbs of the clouds are exactly what clouds would look like if they had body parts. The book is a joy to look at—Crane's loose, gliding lines burst with character, and his compositional gifts make every panel worth contemplating on its own. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/30/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-56097-909-8
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