100 Days, 100 Comics #84: ‘Werewolves of Montpellier’

Posted by – July 14, 2010

A lot of the $3.99 books I can be heard complaining about day-to-day off of the Internet could take a few notes from Jason’s $13 single stories from Fantagraphics. Sequence by sequence and page by page, the re-readability of his stories and scenes consistently offer more densely fulfilling reads than any three or four new $4 books books you could package together and hand to me off the mainstream racks like one of those old hermetically sealed Toys “R” Us deals they used sell by the baseball cards.

“Werewolves of Montpellier,” like many of Jason’s books, draws from existing genre material — this time, it’s werewolf stories. The book exemplifies his quirky unique methodology, which I can’t think of how to describe in any terms other than “chamber comics” because of his use of a minimal number of visual elements and character faces. This reductionist approach to his story telling feeds the timelessness that results from the lack of period-anchoring fashion or uniquely stylized characters that would otherwise draw clear lines between his individual works. Instead, the small cast of animal types and distinguishing characteristics that he employs serves to create continuity in his larger body of work with ham-fistedly working in overt self-referencing. It was a strategy that worked for Ingmar Bergman, and it works for Jason as well.

This particular story ends in a graceful, yet awkwardly suspenseful and open-ended manner, but as with Jason books I’ve encountered before, this landing contributes to the matter-of-fact delivery he often employs in making you feel like you’re witnessing a story sliced out of a larger saga.

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