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Baobab Volume 1
posted August 17, 2005
Fantgraphics, 32 pages, $7.95, September 2005.
Baobab Volum 1 is the first in the Fantagraphics English-language publication of the Ignatz series, which fans saw a brief glimpse of through the first volume of David B.'s Babel
book released some months ago. I believe the strategy here is to put out three books three to four months apart. The first group is Baobab
, <>The Innocents by Gipi, and the first Insomnia
by Matt Broersma. In some ways, it's a North American nod to high-end European comics publishing, witht its color interiors and lovely, oversized books. In others, I think you can see it as a way to do comics in the high-end market phase of alternative comics in America. It's really a 32-page comic series, but the production justifies the leap in price. Or at least should -- in the cases of some artists like Lorenzo Mattotti it will automatically do so; for others, like Broersma, I imagine the jury will be out for a time.
Igort's first Baobab
proves the belle of the initial Ignatz ball, mostly for the lovely and expressive art and a story with a solid premise that's just offbeat enough it's hard to say where exactly it will go. For now, Igort is dealing with two different setting on different sides of the world in the last days of the Edwardian era. Both threads of the story engage with fantasies -- one early printed comics, the other folk tales -- which gives Igort a chance to stretch his works with both wild imagery and suggestive representation of objects. While the story could definitely go to hell in future issues, the first volume of Baobab
does exactly what it should do: intrigues with its potential and impresss with a bit of finely crafted follow through. It's the one I'm going to watch most closely.