Set to Sea by Drew Weing

Set to Sea
by Drew Weing
Fantagraphics, 2010

Another excellent debut graphic novel, another webcomic-printed-as-book, another beautiful Fantagraphics book-as-object, and another rollicking seafaring adventure. Is there a pattern emerging?

The story is told with one large panel per page (it must’ve been maddening to follow online) of a barfly schlub who eventually achieves the success he dreams of a poet… the hard way, after being shanghaied aboard a pirate ship. The publicity emphasises the book’s use of intricate crosshatching (unfashionable because it requires considerable skill) and likens the style to Segar’s Popeye, which makes little sense except for the general theme of ‘sailors’ and the bulbous noses sported by a few characters.

What distinguishes this from a merely average graphic novel is the excellent pacing, the thoughtfulness of the (unnamed) protagonist, and the minimal use of words in a book about writing poetry!

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