Athos in America is a book of short stories by Jason (featuring his trademark anthropomorphic animals, naturally). There’s “The Brain That Wouldn’t Virginia Woolf” a science fictional story of a man and the head of his wife he’s keeping alive and trying to find a body for, “So Long, Mary Ann” a story of a prison escapee, “A Cat From Heaven” a reflexive story about Jason himself being a huge asshole to everyone, “The Smiling Horse” a noirish story of kidnapping and revenge and the titular story of Athos the musketeer hanging out in a bar talking up his exploits in the U.S.
My favourite story though was “Tom Waits on the Moon.” Each page has a character talking to him or herself for four panels, asking a lot of questions, doing a lot of self-doubting, and all coming together in the last page. It just worked really well (despite its lack of Tom Waits as a character).
I guess I went on a bit of a Jason kick there, but here’s my last review for a while. Low Moon is a collection of short stories, including one about a cowboy town where the sheriff and bad guy duel using chess (and the sheriff never wakes up without a bucket of water tossed on him). There’s also a very neat parallel story called & which has the tales of two men on facing pages but in vastly different timescales, only to end up enmeshed. I wasn’t such a fan of the Prehistoric Film Noir story becuase it seemed to rely too much on its ending, which was kind of meh. But all in all, I’m not going to complain too much because this kind of deadpan near-silent comic humour is hard to find anywhere but Jason’s mind (and pen it gets connected to).
The Last Musketeer is a Jason book about a Musketeer who doesn’t really have much to do, until aliens invade. Then he goes off to Mars and buckles some serious swash. Like a lot of Jason’s work there are unexplained assumptions (like why Athos is still alive, and that Mars is okay for walking around on) but the story is a pulp action tale with this detachment and loneliness to it. It’s great.
Fabien Vehlmann and Jason worked together to create Isle of 100,000 Graves but since Jason is the one who drew it in his usual simple anthropomorphic animal style the only real noticeable difference from a regular Jason book is the slightly (very slightly) less oblique humour. There’s a bit more snap to the dialogue which worked very well.
The story is about a girl who gets a message in a bottle with a map to treasure. She heads out there looking for her lost father on a pirate ship and gets a pirate to buddy up with her. The island isn’t actually a lost treasure spot but has a more nefarious purpose: training executioners. There’s good infiltration and cleverness and it’s a pretty excellent, cleanly drawn, funny little pirate comic.