Herman Melville’s Moby Dick Review: Solid

One of the most famous stories about man VS nature is “Moby Dick.” One of the weirdest ideas is adapting this book into a comic since there isn’t much to make this into a comic. Christophe Chabouté has managed that with some successful results.

Several sailors join Captain Ahab’s crew aboard “The Pequod” to look for a white whale named Moby Dick. Ahab especially since Moby Dick took Ahab’s leg and now he has a crazy obsession with the whale.

As with adapting any novel into a comic, there have to be some changes since novel writing and comic writing is different. Not to mention 19th-century novels are mostly the narrator going on about details of the world and characters and not much dialogue. Chabouté goes around this by making the comic mostly visual and changing around the dialogue to make it work as a comic.

This is where the art comes in. Chabouté went for a black and white style which works in the comic’s favor.” Moby Dick” is mainly about Captain Ahab’s unhealthy madness and the great lengths he goes to in order to kill the whale. This style is also used to tell the story by showing many scenes where characters aren’t talking and mainly where in the book the narrator was talking.

Another way this works is that in comic form it’s better to have sequential panels with no dialogue than narration, which in this case would greatly slow down the pacing. Some purists may object to much of the book’s language taken out, but at the end of the day, it was the right call.

Another group of people may not like the story. One reason is 99% of it is the crew sailing towards where the whale is and the big battle between whale and man is at the end. Since this is a 19th Century novel it is much slower than modern novels and that may put off some readers.

Christophe Chabouté took what many consider to be Herman Melville’s best book and created a comic adaptation that works. The art is what makes the comic a joy to read. The story may be intact with lots of the writing omitted or changed, but that’s more for aesthetic reasons which some may disagree with along with the story not being for everyone.

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Rocco Sansone

Rocco Sansone is a “man of many interests.” These include anime/manga, video games, tabletop RPGs, YA literature, 19th century literature, the New York Rangers, and history. Among the things and places he would like to see before he dies are Japan, half of Europe, and the New York Rangers win another Stanley Cup.

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