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The Arctic Marauder

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  679 ratings  ·  88 reviews
In its ongoing quest to showcase the wide range of Jacques Tardi’s bibliography, Fantagraphics reaches all the way back to one of his earliest, and most distinctive graphic novels: A satirical, Jules Vernes-esque “retro-sci-fi” yarn executed on scratchboard in a stunningly detailed faux-woodcut style perfectly chosen to render the Edwardian-era mechanical marvels on displa ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Fantagraphics (first published 1974)
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  679 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Aug 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic
Art: 4 stars. Lovely, impressive, and striking -- except for the people themselves. The characters are not very interesting visually or in personality. Quite bland. But the machinery is neat and all the natural scenes are amazing.

Story: 3 stars. Good job getting the period adventure tone, but it just isn't that exciting (perhaps because, again, the characters are so flat).

Prose: 2 stars. Snore.

David Schaafsma
The second best thing about this book is that the publisher calls it "ice punk" instead of "steam punk" because it is a Jules Verne-type story set in the Arctic, in 1889.

The best thing is the artwork, so gorgeous to look at, black and white, meticulously drawn settings, interestingly drawn characters.

The worst thing is the story/dialogue. Too many words! Let the pictures tell the story!

The second worst thing might be the story itself, which I didn't much care for. A ghost ship atop an iceberg s
Dani Peloquin
Apr 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Let me preface by saying that the illustrations in this graphic novel are by far some of the best pieces of artwork that I have ever seen! When artwork this good is placed next to text, the story pales in comparison. Such is the case with this graphic novel.

A ship is sailing peacefully in the arctic when a crewman spots another ship perched atop an iceberg. The captain from the first ship sends a dinghy out to the stranded ship in hopes of saving the passengers or at least discovering how the sh
Jared Millet
I hate to give a low review to a graphic novel with art this gorgeous, but I'm afraid I have to. My advice - find a copy at a bookstore and flip through it slowly, because the artwork is breathtaking. Just be sure that when you do, you don't read any of the text boxes or dialog balloons, because the writing is so very, very awful.

If you pick up 50s and 60s American comics, you may notice that often the writers didn't trust the illustrators to tell their story, so they put enough description in t
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: european-comics
Another superb comic by Tardi. Some would argue that main premise of the story (with the mad scientists) is, not far-fetched but, a bit basic.

I have enjoyed it myself, it has this surreal aura that covers adele blanc-sec too. And the illustrations are out of this world, "arctic marauder" is one of the best examples of Tardi's mastership. Pity we didn't get to see a continuation of the main arc.

Here he's not simple, simple as in nestor burma and la debauche. Here he lets himself go, he's extrava
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: probably nobody
This is a whole lot of Verne's Master of the World, but is barely a fraction as interesting or nuanced. I don't remember if Master... is nuanced at all and I still feel confident in this claim.

Moving right along to Tardi Exhibit B: You Are There is so conversely delightful, absurd and invested in its characters that I'd reread it right now if Marauder were You.
I haven't done a great job of perusing graphic novels pre-Sandman and Watchmen, so I'm not familiar with Jacques Tardi or with comics in general from the 70s. This book struck me as indicative of the general vibe I have gotten from what little pre-80s comics work I have seen - it doesn't take itself very seriously. It's been pointed out that The Arctic Marauder can be read as a parody of its genre, but I didn't get that from my reading at all - the plot developments and devices seemed lazy and n ...more
Matt Wilson
I read The Arctic Marauder by Jacques Tardi. This book was very strange. It starts with a man named Jerome on a ship in the arctic ocean. They spot another ship just floating on an iceberg at sea and go to investigate. When they get on to the other ship, their ship blows up for absolutely no clear reason. Jerome is puzzled by this and goes to visit his uncle for some advice, but when he arrives it appears that his uncle is dead. Jerome sets out of Brest on a ship that is going to try and figure ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
While there is not a great amount of material in this book in terms of actual story length, I still thought that this was an incredible graphic novel. The richness of detail, and the playing with the form of comics made this an incredibly beautiful book. Every page was a work of art that begged to be studied further, and every frame of this book contained a multitude of lines were inspired. The story itself bordered on lovecraftian, but by the end became more a reimagined 20,000 Leagues Under th ...more
Mar 07, 2014 rated it liked it
My English teacher told me I had to read this story. Honestly the driest moments of my entire life. The art is not equally distributed to the massive amounts of texts. In my opinion this is a short story that they added a few words to... There is very little closure and the conversations are way too wordy. The art is still interesting at least (Honestly the only reason I stuck out to the end of the story). I do however enjoy the ending of this story, but I'm positive it was not worth the wait. I ...more
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
This caught my attention as an early steampunk title. Like a lot of other reviewers, I was enthralled by the artwork but disappointed by the writing. It is my understanding that this is supposed to be a satirical work, but the references to Jules Verne, etc. just seemed laughingly unclever and lazy. The villains are delightfully evil in action and appearance, but the main character's sudden turn to the dark side makes no sense at all.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm surprised at some of the low ratings this has gotten. First of all, it's totally "icepunk" as the blurb on the back states, but it was written in 1974. Predating LoEG, among others. I think some of the issue might be with the translation - in places it's a little clunky. But it's also supposed to be a pulp comic. Also, it was done with SCRATCHBOARD!! SCRATCHBOARD!! The scene where Jerome wakes up alone should give it an extra star for that.
Absolutely exquisite artwork. The artist makes the very most of B&W illustration - they look like etchings or woodcuts, with incredible detail and drama. Story is a Jules Verne take-off - "icepunk", as they cleverly call it. Highly recommended.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers of all ages, fans of these fine creators and great stories
Recommended to Brent by: translator Kim Thompson, Raw Magazine, and Atlanta-Fulton Public Library
Steampunk! Great, great B&W art by the fabulous Tardi.
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good story, great artwork.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
So that was a thing. I didn't hate "The Arctic Marauder", but I didn't love it either, nor is it something I imagine I'll be telling people about in the future. It's a Jules Verne-esque adventure of a young man searching for the answer as to why ships keep blowing up. The evil-wins ending was reminiscent of playground games where the schoolyard bully kept creating more and more stupid reasons to win in that "everything proof shield" kind of way. And I was waiting. I was waiting for the main char ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Highly recommended if you can appreciate how much it is indebted to Jules Verne. A painstaking level of detail was lent to every single panel. Looks like Tardi used scratchboard. And this is what keeps this from being a more enduring classic. I read somewhere that Tardi will never use this technique again because it was so difficult and time consuming. Because of this, it seems like the story was brought to an abrupt end without a real ending and no real explanation for many of the holes in the ...more
Alex Fyffe
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Although most of the narration feels redundant and threatens to bog down the story, there is also a charm to reading the Victorian-style prose throughout, especially since Tardi seems to want to make clear his influences, and purple prose is one way of achieving that 19th-century feel. The story hits many gothic Victorian tropes. The art, however, is impeccable, and the excellent designs and layouts kept me glued to the page. 3.5
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: loeg-archives
This one's strange. A steampunk thriller set in the late 19th century, ships are disappearing in the ice of the Arctic Ocean. The pages have nice design work, and Tardi has a compelling narrative voice. I also like it's unexpected ending. A little thin overall, but definitely bizarre and fun if you find it for the right price or at the library. Nice art, too!
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Art: 5 stars. Writing: 1.5 stars.
The art is often breathtaking - incredible landscapes! exquisite hatching! - but the plot and characters are thin and the dialogue stilted. The Arctic Marauder has it's share of exciting points and would have been a good adventure romp if they'd been tied together (or trimmed) more skillfully.
Emanuel Sanabria
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
2 stars story told with 6 stars artwork.
Tanvir Muntasim
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Science fiction that is a worthy tribute to the Jules Verne classics.
Mark Ballinger
Nov 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mark by: Lunch Box
Shelves: graphic-novel
First half: intriguing story, cool drawings, good mystery. Second half: goofy with ridiculous "plot" and thin characters.
Tim Robinson
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ice in the shrouds! A wicked plot! A mysterious uncle! A doomsday machine! A watery grave!
Very silly, but all good fun.
Sourya Majumder
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The early Tardi spits in the face of such teleological and escapist contrivances as 'closure' and 'narrative satisfaction'.
Andy Zeigert
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Being not yet 30, there exists an unending ocean of great comics created before I was born or before I cared, nevermind the constant river of new titles emptying into that ocean every day. I try not to make myself crazy trying to find every great title ever made. But I do enjoy picking up the occasional reissue and looking at what past generations had to offer. One of my favorite artists, who has also influenced several of my other favorite artists, is Jacques Tardi. And Fantagraphics recent rei ...more
Ken Krimstein
A sharp short story with amazing visuals by a true master. Different looking, a scratch board kind of technique, but with a lot of heart. Packs a punch.
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Ok here's the thing..the illustrations bring this up to 3 stars but really this is a disappointment for Tardi. I think the main thing that really perplexed and irritated me was how he failed to explain the huge change in character of one of the leads. He also sort of passes off the idea that he can take literary liberties because it's just a fiction anyways, right, trying to be playful but coming off as lazy in my opinion. Great graphic novelist but this is not the one to read if you're not look ...more
Amanda P.
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Icepunk" subgenre of Steampunk, written in graphic novel form and illustrated with Victorian-like black and white etchings and ink. Themes: steam power, mechanics, mad inventors, shipwrecks, Arctic expedition, flying machines.

A fast read - I finished it in one day while both kids were home. The narration is so fast-paced, it feels like barely skimming the surface of the story - reads more like a summary than the story itself. But because of this, it would be a good title for reluctant readers,
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
The art in this graphic novel was astounding. However, the writing is terrible. I'm not sure if this is because of it being a translation from French into English, but either way, there are major problems for me with this book.

-dialogue and narration are clunky and contrived. It seems like the writer/translator had a pen in his right hand and a thesaurus in his left hand. Would the first mate on a ship really use words like "ascertain," "ardor," and "I find myself incapable of formulating an exp
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Jacques Tardi is a French comics artist, born 30 August 1946 in Valence, Drôme. He is often credited solely as Tardi.

After graduating from the École nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs in Paris, he started writing comics in 1969, at the age of 23, in the comics magazine Pilote, initially illustrating short stories written by Jean Giraud and Serge
“Moreover, man carries in his heart the desire always to wield his scientific knowledge in service of the greater good. He would of course never use it for destructive purposes. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! ...” 4 likes
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