Quick entry today on a quick read. Today’s book is a comic… Okko: The Cycle Of Water, written and illustrated by Hub (aka Humbert Chabuel), with coloring by Hub and Stephan Pelayo.
Basically, this is just a good, solid quest story set in a pre-modern world populated with samurai, demons, elemental spirits, vampires, and giant warrior-puppets. The stars of the cast include: a masked giant, a drunken holy-man, a ronin (wandering samurai), and a beautiful young geisha. The artwork is good, often beautiful. If all this sounds like your cup of tea, then I invite you to drink up, my friend.
The book’s very first panel is of a semi-nude girl sporting a cool, full-back tattoo of a carp– she will turn out to be Little Carp, and the stealing-away of her will precipitate the story’s action.
Perhaps the most beautiful panel in the whole book comes on that very same page first page… it’s of a boy perched in a tree at sunset. There’s beautiful form and color, and some exquisite, mottled shadow-work as sunset light dances through the leaves.
The palette of the entire book is lovely — with well-matched hues combined in such a way as to rival the canvas of one of the more harmonious works of Jackson Pollack. The problem is that sometimes, when the tones are chosen too closely to each other from the ol’ color wheel, the images do not stand out from one another enough to allow for clarity and distinction—a problem exacerbated by the generally dark patina covering the work.
Providing some depth to the magical adventure story is the drunken monk, who offers several sage pieces of advice throughout the book, including my favorite: “He who takes the same route twice never moves forward.” Or, in the same spirit (though said by another character putting words in the mouth of the monk)… “No wind favors the man who does not know which port he seeks.”