Now, this isn’t quite a graphic novel or a trade paperback, but I feel it should have been. Hence, its inclusion in this weekend’s regular installment of what to sit back and read with your feet up.
Atlas & Axis #1, for anyone who saw our preview, looks and reads as though it were a European album, and over in its native country of origin, it was published in exactly this way. But, this is an English translation for the American (and UK) market and so it’s presented as a comic book. Although, wait around long enough and I’m sure it’ll be collected as a trade. But why wait so long?
Long before Pixar, Disney and the like were creating animated feature films with jokes for kids and more high brow, cheekier affair for adults, France was doing it first, and in Atlas & Axis #1 by Pau, this more mature humour continues, even though judging by the art and the cast of cute looking doggies ,you’d could easily mistake this as more of an all-ages read.
And, it is that, but when you have references to butt smelling and massive, steaming doggie dookie, as well as a seeming massacre of a whole village, this isn’t your usual anthropomorphic anodyne adventure. And the trail to the North that the two eponymous heroes of the book and the enemy, some of whom are wolves, is paved with one obstacle after another. But, what age group, young or old, doesn’t like a bit of lavatorial humour?
Atlas and Axis are like a doggy Asterix and Obelix, or R2D2 and C3PO, and with their very cartoon like appearance one can be easily fooled into thinking the artwork reflective of other animated feeling comics. But, looking at each page it becomes apparent very quickly that this is a detailed, scenic and oft-times moody read, as Pau delivers majestic vistas and a mastery over light, colour and tone often associated with the art of more adult European affair, such as The Metabaron series of books.
This is a world you just want to climb into and be a part of with its evocation of a pastoral past now lost to industrialisation on the whole. This really does emphasis the ‘picture’ in ‘picture book’. It’s a sumptuous comic to read and to soak up, and it’s only part one of this epic adventure in which we have already had terror, love and laughs, and separation.
This one’s definitely for fans of Asterix, but the humour is nothing I wouldn’t share with my 12 year old daughter, either. One for all the family then! You’d be barking mad not to check it out.
Atlas & Axis #1 is available now from Titan/Statix Press.