Monday, December 27, 2010

Seven Sons

Written by Alex Grecian
Art by Riley Rossmo

I believe that this graphic novel, which retells a classic Chinese fairy tale (which has its analogues in the West and in Turkey as well), is the first collaboration between the Proof team of Grecian and Rossmo.

The story, transplanted from China to Gold Rush-era California, is about seven identical brothers who each have a unique ability (or super-power).  When some children fall through some ice and begin to drown, one brother uses his abilities to suck up all the water from the river.  He can't hold it as long as is needed though, and when the water flows out of him, the children and a couple of other people are swept away and drown.  The townsfolk blame the brother, and come after him.  Not knowing about his family (the brothers only ever went into town one at a time it seems), they end up confronting each of the brothers in order, as circumstance provides each with the opportunity to use his abilities.

The story reads nicely, and I like the modern framing sequence.  Rossmo's art is always a little difficult to interpret at times, and that seems to be exacerbated by the black and white pages and the liberal use of black ink he uses.  I like the way he draws, but he is not always the clearest storyteller.  I also found the oversized earlobes on the brothers to be distracting and kind of weird.  Is there a historical precedence for this?

This book has a lot in common with Proof.  It's clear that Grecian has a great love for folklore, and he provides an interesting essay about the antecedents to this story.  As with most AIT/PanetLar books, this one is pretty unusual, and uncommon.

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