David Schaafsma's Reviews > Moby Dick

Moby Dick by Christophe Chabouté
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really liked it
bookshelves: gn-lit-based

250 page black and white tome, a solid graphic/illustrated/comics adaptation of the central action of one of the Great American Novels about Captain Ahab obsessively seeking revenge on the Great White Whale (uh, that would be your titular character, Moby Dick) that took his leg. The original novel, much admired and much hated, is not just an adventure story, it’s a wonderfully messy and wide-ranging exploration of ideas. Charcoute enacts a version of the tale that visually gets at the madness and obsession of Ahab.

I was reminded of Pablo Auladell’s Paradise Lost, another literary mountain to climb. Charcoute, like Auladell, largely turns the text into a visual poem, and does an admirable job ob it visually, especially of the madness of Ahab. And with confrontations with Starbuck. And the actual action scenes with the whale! Reminds me a bit of the black and white adventure comics of Jacques Tardi or Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea. It falls short of the glory of the original, but if you like adventure stories/comics, here you are, a powerful rendition.

A YouTube preview, 1:45 minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdoEL...

Gregory Peck in 1956 film version:

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/33...
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Reading Progress

July 5, 2017 – Started Reading
July 5, 2017 – Shelved
July 5, 2017 – Shelved as: gn-lit-based
July 6, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by david (new)

david Is this the comic book version?


David Schaafsma david wrote: "Is this the comic book version?" Yup, tis, clarified that in the review, thanks. But to say it is a comics version might be to suggest it is silly or completely reductive. It is 250 pages, adapted from a 800 page novel, so yes, it is abbreviated, but not i n Readers Digest way. It's like a film, something different than the original, a visually oriented retelling. Does that sound defensive? Well, maybe it is... but this is a work of art.


message 3: by david (new)

david Wow. David, I just watched the you tube that you aptly included in your review. I read the long version, which unlike the video provided, was in English, or so I thought. However, I would have enjoyed the comic book version in German (like the video) more. It could be equally symbolic if the ship left Warnemunde than Nantucket.


message 4: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse Wow, David, even if it falls short of the novel itself, this sounds simply gorgeous - the drawing style looks highly alluring.


David Schaafsma david wrote: "Wow. David, I just watched the you tube that you aptly included in your review. I read the long version, which unlike the video provided, was in English, or so I thought. However, I would have enjo..."
See??!! It's certainly not "just a comic book"! (When will we stop staying stuff like that??! Hopefully some day.) Glad you enjoyed it, in English or German.


message 6: by David (last edited Jul 06, 2017 12:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Schaafsma Ilse wrote: "Wow, David, even if it falls short of the novel itself, this sounds simply gorgeous - the drawing style looks highly alluring."Hmm, maybe I spoke less than candidly. I guess I realize that many people find the book long and sprawling and boring, or just refuse to read it. I wouldn't want the illustrated version (or any film) to supplant a reading of the original. But I will say, if this is the only version of Moby Dick you ever read, it will not disappoint you. A tale of revenge and obsession and madness. And yes, gorgeous illustration. Sometimes page after page without all those words Melville wrote, but still powerful and as you say, alluring.


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