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Blacklung Hardcover – November 22, 2012
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*Starred Review* Wright’s first full-length graphic novel is not easy to describe or digest. At its widest angle, it’s a pirate tale about a captain determined to dole out as much evil as he can so that he might be reunited with his dead love in hell. His theological musings are recorded by a dandy schoolteacher who was press-ganged aboard and introduced to a life of misery, maiming, and madness. The first mate kills for erotic pleasure, the preacher rambles on about apocalypse, and a seasoned gangster boss becomes downright civil in contrast to the brutality on board. Sounds pretty grim, and it is, but what’s stunning is how Wright slashes through it all with genuinely funny dialogue, reminiscent of the deep-black humor of Norwegian cartoonist Jason, and powerful insight about how any sort of god could unleash humanity upon itself. Wright contrasts his doughy figures with densely crosshatched textures in a visual style that’s about halfway between the sorta-animals of French comics master Lewis Trondheim and the lummox hero of Drew Weing’s poetic Set to Sea (2010). And when he fully lets rip with a sequence of experimentally tricky panel arrangements and disjointed narrative structures, Wright shows he’s got a deep arsenal of storytelling weapons at his command. Unsettling, upsetting, and strangely touching, Wright’s story arrives at something humane and emotionally true through a sea of aberrance and terror. --Ian Chipman
Chris Wright's Blacklung... feels... like a cancerous tumor that had to be excised from Wright's imagination in order to finally free him of it. ... Wright unleashes the full power of his dense artwork to create a relentlessly grim and oppressive story that is at times a pitch-black satire of both reason and faith. --Rob Clough"
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The reason I mention this is because I think Blacklung is one of those rare graphic novels that delivers to both types of readers. A casual fan of offbeat comics will immediately notice the highly stylized and incredible artwork, and the story line is adequate to keep the reader interested. The narrator is the captive of a pirate captain whose obsession leads him down a brutal and destructive path.
When I finished the book thats pretty much what I took away from it. But like all great books, when I was done reading I knew there was something more. Its that feeling that stays with you and keeps you thinking about what you just read. Its hard for me to interpret and express, but Blacklung has it.
I would have rated the book a 4.5/5 if possible, but I give it -.5 stars because my copy shipped with a few pages out of order near the beginning of the book. This left me really confused until I noticed the issue and managed to reread the section in order. No fault of the author's for sure.