Thursday, December 18, 2008

Review: The Lagoon

Lilli Carré's graphic novel The Lagoon (Fantagraphics, 2008, 80 b&w pages, $14.99) is an eerie musical poem of a comic. It won't knock your socks off, but this weird story manages to be both creepy and pleasant at the same time, which is kind of fun.

It's the same off-kilter feeling that Carré acheived in her short story The Thing About Madeline, recently published in The Best American Comics 2008 (here's my review). That one was about a woman fleeing her humdrum life after coming face to face with herself. The Lagoon is about a family living next to a swamp inhabited by a creature that lures people into the waters with its enchanting singing. Some of those people don't come back.

The book is also about sound -- rhythms, noises, music, tapping, etc. Carré plays around with how sound can be displayed and used in comics, and this experiment fits well with her lyrical, whimsical art.

I particularly liked seeing how the creature's siren song became a physical object, wrapping itself around people and slithering in and out of the weeds. You can see this in the following two pages (click to enlarge):

Carré raises a lot of questions about what is going on, and I guess is content to let many of them remain unanswered. I kind of wish she had gone a little further with the story, though -- I wanted to know more about this creature and this family. I guess I wanted more of a resolution, too. This was a nice way to spend an evening, but I wouldn't mind seeing her tackle something bigger and deeper with her next project.

Here is a nifty slideshow of the book:

You can buy it from Fantagraphics here or from Amazon here: The Lagoon

Disclaimer: This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

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