WOW! is the most appropriate way to begin this review. In fact I’m not really sure if “WOW!” is enough to truly express my surprise upon reading Aesop’s Ark.
Aesop’s Ark is not a complex, action packed, mind bender by any stretch of the imagination. Instead it’s simple, and quiet, and beautiful.
The story revolves around a group of animals living in what appears to be Noah’s Ark during the flood, while this is not specifically stated anywhere I think it is assumed. There is nothing expressly religious though and it feels as if the ark is used more as a backdrop for the story more than anything else.
Aesop is the wise lion and the core of the characters. The others look to him for advice and protection. While these animals find ways to live with one another they exchange anecdotes and share stories, and of course these stories all have a lesson within them, just as Aesop’s fables had lessons.
Each page of this book is magical. Jennifer L. Meyer’s illustrations are mesmerizing and dreamlike. The whole book appears to be done in pencil and it’s possibly the most stunning comic I have seen in years. The pages flow seamlessly in a gentle rhythm as if you were being carried along by the waves of the ark itself. Meyer’s work produces an effortless reading experience and packs an emotional wallop. I found myself pouring over the artwork again and again in awe. The pages are overflowing with details. I discovered something new every time.
Jennifer’s comic work includes some unusual titles including Star Wars Adventures: Chewbacca and The Slavers of the Shadowlands and “Puss in Boots” for the Jim Henson’s Storyteller Anthology. Please run over to her website to see more of her work. It’s worth the trip. jennifer-meyer.com
Shuster Award winning writer J. Torres skillfully penned the script for Aesop. I thought a lot about his writing after reading the book a couple of times. A book with such sumptuous artwork had to be written perfectly. If Shuster had been heavy handed with his style the book would have suffered. Instead you get the impression that both writer and artist fell into a simpatico state of mind. The words and pictures flow together in a brilliant and convoluted sort of way. The words seem to become part of the illustrations, they are entwined together perfectly. I would have thought the words and artwork had been done by the same person. The marriage of the two is…wonderful.
Not surprisingly it turned out Torres is a seasoned comic book writer, working on titles like Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Love as a Foreign Language and Teen Titans Go. He’s also been nominated for an Eisner Award for his work on Alison Dare, which I thought was pretty cool.
I could go on and on about Aesop’s Ark ad nauseum, but I think you get it by now, I loved this book. It get’s better the more I read it. It has a message without being preachy, and it can be appreciated by people of all ages and backgrounds. Try and find another comic that can even come close to that claim.
I’ll end this review with these words which I stole from the little mouse on the ark: Pay attention to the stories for they’ll help you find your way through life.
Published by MonkeyBrain Comics
J. Torres, Writer
Jennifer L. Meyer, Artist