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posted January 10, 2007
Nicolas De Crecy
NBM, softcover, 80 pages, January 2007, $14.95
This is the first in a series of book solicited by the Louvre to feature elements of that great museum history and its offerings in a comics narrative. De Crecy, one of the great visual comedians working in French comics, provides a snappy and funny story that's amusing enough to work horizon to horizon but in terms of depth runs about an inch deep -- but oh, what a pretty inch.
opens in the far future where Europe is long forgotten, buried under mountains of ice and snow. Travelers from the south seeking clues as to the continent's origins and any potential civilizations that used to be located there, stumble across the Louvre and set about describing and defining what they find there. Meanwhile, the spirits of the pieces themselves react to making human contact once again, and eventually reveal what happened to the continent in the first place. De Crecy works in a number of humorous approaches, starting with more of a physical comedy and gag feel in the framing sequence pages, and quickly moving to a long, satirical sequence whereby the explorers interpret the pieces of art in the most ridiculous, self-aggrandizing and clueless way possible. This is humorous in and of itself and as, it seems, a bluntly raised middle finger aimed at art historians and critics of any and all media that overstep their bounds. The conclusion, with the objects' reveal, is a genially stated yet nasty shot at modern living.
Beyond the look of Glacial Period
, the lingering effect is of a creator working near the top of his game but smartly and in some ways modestly within the parameters of a defined project; it doesn't have the idiosyncrasy or the energy of a project that started wholly with an artist, if that makes any sense, but is sort of doubly charming for being so good-natured about what it needs to do.