cover image Athos in America

Athos in America

Jason. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (196p) ISBN 978-1-60699-478-8

Norwegian cartoonist Jason has returned with more full-color stories populated by lonely, and at times sociopathic, anthropomorphic characters. Cats, dogs, and ducks steal, fight, murder, and drink themselves into oblivion. Although brimming with black humor, the tales are far from ridiculous; the disjunction between the cute creatures and their actions often serves to highlight the despair inherent in their lives. Text is light, as the images drive the narratives. In these spare, mute panels, infused with flat oranges, greens, and browns, small movements covey great meaning and emotion. The volume includes five stories, including “The Brain That Wouldn’t Virginia Woolf,” a hybrid of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. The title story provides a charming prequel to Jason’s 2008 graphic novel, The Last Musketeer. Visually exciting, at times hilarious and at times devastating, Athos in America will only add to Jason’s well-deserved reputation as a star of the graphic novel world. (Feb.)