cover image Cravan


Mike Richardson, . . Dark Horse Books, $14.95 (66pp) ISBN 978-1-59307-291-9

It's not known what became of Arthur Cravan—boxer, poet, adventurer, hoaxer and Oscar Wilde's nephew—after he disappeared while sailing to Mexico in 1918. This graphic novel biography presents the larger-than-life incidents from his life, including various daring escapes, schemes and a scam involving boxing matches with Jack Johnson. Along the way, Cravan runs into such figures as Leon Trotsky and marries poet Mina Loy. Richardson even adds to the mystery by speculating that Cravan was also reclusive B. Traven, author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre . Geary, creator of the outstanding Treasury of Victorian Murder series, is an excellent choice to illustrate and co-write this historical overview. His distinctive pen-and-ink style captures the reality of the times, especially when it comes to establishing settings like cluttered sitting rooms or angry groups of men in striped suits. Cravan embarrasses his family but claims it's all for experience to become a writer. Their good advice—"If you want to write, sit down and write"—is ignored in favor of more sensation seeking. The result is a life of violence and dada, a colorful footnote to the history of the era. (Nov.)