Vapor

Max. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (120p) ISBN 978-1-60699460-3
This comic is the dreamy, symbol-heavy, existential journey of a bird-faced man named Nicodemos who is sick of “the world and the people, of things and ideas, of words and of images.” He flees the world for a desert populated by strange creatures, such as an indulgent cat named Mosh, a caregiving bird named Juanita, a destructive lumberjack called Hercules, and Vapor, the desert’s unseen head honcho, described by Mosh as being “like God or something.” Cartoonist Max won Spain’s National Comics Award in 2007 for his previous graphic novel Bardin the Superrealist, and here he continues his exploration of philosophical concepts and surreal storytelling. The book’s black-and-white art and cartoonish characters provide a deceptively simple foundation for a graphic novel about the search for the meaning of life. The sophisticated panel layout varies to reflect the mood—from an eight-panel grid to a single small panel on an otherwise empty page. The desert is portrayed as a stark white background; as the story progresses the black line work becomes cluttered, chaotic, and dangerous. Nicodemos is something of a clichéd sad male protagonist, but the nuance of Max’s art makes this a rewarding experience. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 12/01/2014
Genre: Comics
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