cover image Blacklung


Chris Wright. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-60699-587-7

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.)