Men at Sea TP
Publisher: Dead Reckoning
Release Date: April 10, 2019
Price: $24.95
Creator(s): Various (writers); Riff Reb's (artist)
Format: 120 pgs., Full-Color, 8"x11", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-6824-7387-0
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

This is a visually beautiful book, but may not be for all readers.  The difficulty is the format.  In a mere 120 pages, this book includes graphic adaptations of eight literary pieces, along with seven visual interludes which illustrate a passage from a story.  Granted, a few of the texts are very short in prose, such as the Robert Louis Stevenson story selected, but others, like the William Hope Hodgson pieces, are much more abridged.  Thus, the Stevenson story is basically intact, but the Hodgson one is not even close to the original story.  The inclusion of two tales by "Pierre Mac Orlan," one of the many pseudonyms of a somewhat notorious French author of a century ago, seemed odd choices, but the author’s Algerian background may have given him familiarity with these.  The translations by Joe Johnson work well, although for several of the pieces, they were translations back into English, since this collection came out in France five years ago.

The pieces that are just illustrations are beautiful, but are only included because they fit the theme of the work.  A reader might wish that the artist had done a full rendering of, say, the Jules Verne piece, because the one illustration is so amazing.  That one story would have to be turned into a much longer volume than this one, though.

For an adult reader who wants graphic versions of sea stories, this is a remarkable piece of work, but it will have limited appeal to other readers.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.