Robert Boyd's Reviews > Dungeon: The Early Years - Vol. 1: The Night Shirt

Dungeon by Joann Sfar
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Feb 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: art-comics, euro-comics
Read in February, 2012

Each of NBM's editions of the Dungeon series by Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar and their various collaborators contains two volumes of the French series. An album is a 48-page book, which is not a format that American readers are used to. It would probably seem skimpy to the average American. So we get these nice thick volumes. On the downside, NBM shrinks the size of the page to about two thirds the original size, so we don't get to see the art in all its glory, and the lettering is quite small.

Trondheim and Sfar are two of the most important alternative cartoonists of their generation. It's a strange irony that the pair decided to start creating these truly wacky genre adventure series. Using animal characters, these stories are set in a Dungeons & Dragons-like fantasy world. Lots of sword fighting, magic, thievery, treachery, etc.

The early years introduces us to characters who will be quite important later, especially Hyacinthe, who will laterer become the Keeper of the titular Dongeon. In this volume, he is a very young man (a teenager perhaps), and he has been sent by his father to the city to study with his uncle. His uncle turns out to be a completely corrupt mover-and-shaker type. Hyacinthe, confused and disgusted--and full of romantic fantasies--assumes the form of a masked avenger, the Nightshirt. And even though he is usually outmatched by his foes, he picks his allies well and manages to triumph over his enemies.

The art is by Christopher Blain (another important French alternative cartoonists), and like all the books in this series, the rich coloring is a big part of the pleasure.
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