The Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi

The Arctic Marauder
by Jacques Tardi
Fantagraphics, 2011

An elegant homage to both Jules Verne and the popular late-19th century ‘invention fiction’ penny dreadful series starring Frank Reade (and his son). This 1974 book has been described as “icepunk” (as opposed to steampunk), and features some gorgeous drawings and layouts by Tardi with plenty of short serialised chapters and cliffhangers.

Our hero is the intrepid Jérôme Plumier, searching for his missing inventor uncle near the North Pole. Much of the story is set on the Arctic Ocean, and the detailed backgrounds appear to be rendered using scratchboard, which gives them a great Edwardian look, while the ink-drawn characters and dialogue bubbles are pasted on top – it looks fantastic, although the quality notably dips whenever Tardi dares to skimp a bit. The curse of high quality!

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