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Set to Sea Hardcover – August 10, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Who knew that the big galoot who can’t pay his tab and gets kicked out of a tavern is a poet at heart, gazing longingly into library windows on dark, abandoned streets? Certainly not the scurvy seadogs who kidnap him and send him to sea as a replacement for their lost crew, where he learns that the waters are possessed of a much different poetry than he ever suspected. With elegant simplicity, this comic-book fable unfurls the tale of a life cast on an unexpected course and the melancholy wisdom accrued upon the waves. First-time graphic-novelist Weing has produced a beautiful gem here, with minimal dialogue, one jolting battle scene, and each small page owned by a single panel filled with art whose figures have a comfortable roundness dredged up from the cartoon landscapes of our childhood unconscious, even as the intensely crosshatched shadings suggest the darkness that sometimes traces the edges of our lives. A loving and very sophisticated homage to E. C. Segar’s Popeye, it would make a fine tonal companion for Scott Morse’s Southpaw (2003) or S. A. Harkham’s Poor Sailor (2005). Weing’s debut is playful, atmospheric, dark, wistful, and wise. Grades 8-12. --Jesse Karp

Review

“At its core, this book is imbued with appropriately romantic notions of what living one’s life truly means. ... Weing is something of a classicist in his artistic approach, from the E. C. Segar influence he clearly wears on his anchored sleeve to his garish use of hatching—but the style suits the subject matter quite well.” (Brian Heater - The Daily Cross Hatch)

“With hints of The Odyssey, Moby Dick, Popeye and Treasure Island, Weing has created a modern classic in the pirate genre.” (School Library Journal)

Set to Sea is the kind of comic that you give to people you love with a knowing look that says 'read this, you'll thank me later.' The kind of book that is not exclusively reserved for aficionados of the comics art form. The kind of work that, by virtue of its poetry, leaves the reader in an emotional state once he's read the final page, and that simply demands to be flipped through again immediately so that the reader might breathe in this adventure's perfume for a little longer.” (Thierry Lemaire, Actua BD (translated from French))
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606993682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606993682
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beautiful little gem is nothing short of a masterpiece. The packaging, the design, the printing, are all so lavish and well-suited to the work, but let's get to that work.

Ostensibly this is a story of a protagonist who is impressed into service at sea, but what it's really about is a man who has lost his passion (in this case, for writing) and somehow, without knowing it and almost against his will, he regains it. But that's not quite right either. This by turns unfortunate and almost supernaturally blessed soul finds genuine inspiration where he never would have sought it. Only a hack poet before his maritime career, he is finally moved to write, to communicate in a very real way only after he's, well, lived. Not unlike the real life of many an artist.

And still again, there's so much more to it than that. Gorgeously illustrated and sensitively written by the remarkably talented Drew Weing, this book has to be seen to be believed. The art is sweet, yet finely detailed in such a way that it creates a very real-feeling kind of world, and the spare dialogue perfectly complements that overall effect. I read someone else compare it to the Big Little Books of the mid 20th Century, and that's a fair analogy, but my God, I wished those BLB's had been this good.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an exquisite little book, with every page a stand-alone work of art. I read it with the same excitement that I first found with Edward Gorey books years ago in that it's not simply a book as a vehicle for a story, but a book as an artwork in itself (but Set To Sea does not have Gorey's affectation of ghoulishness in the least). Each page is beautifully drawn and apparently meticulously researched for historical accuracy. The story is literally for all ages: for the young, an inspiration to work and experience, and for us oldsters, a message about the dignity and satisfaction of having worked and experienced. It's a book to linger over and to give to friends.
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Format: Paperback
An incredible piece of graphic fiction, for two reasons:

1. Author relies little on text. Most of the book is wordless, and the story is generally communicated through images and action. Makes for a thoughtful read.

2. Black and white inked images are beautifully rendered, combining "cartoonish" character designs with lavishly rendered environments. Each page is an accomplishment unto itself, and several pages garner prolonged investigation. This would make a great study focus in any graphic art course.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is a fan of: Pen and Ink artwork, Short Stories, Poetry
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked this up because I knew the creator would be at a convention in my area, giving me the opportunity to have the book signed. My concerns that the copy would be in anything less than perfect condition and wouldn't arrive in time for the convention--I ordered it somewhat close to the date of the convention--were laid to rest when the book showed up at my door in perfect condition and well before the con. Many thanks to the provider.
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Format: Hardcover
This tiny tome is beautiful without being any less gritty and real. It conveys quite neatly the wonder that goes into poetry of the sea and how the best way to grow as a writer is to experience more of life, if you want to or not. This is a welcome addition to any library open to graphic novels.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Drew's illustrations are great, however I think the way the protagonist moves through time is genuinely elegant - the way the writing evolves through the tail is something I've never seen in any other book - it's an intriguing technique. Anyone who loves literature should get their hands on this - it's a classic.
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Format: Hardcover
The artwork in this novel is beautiful and exhibits tremendous discipline by Drew Weing. This tale is accessible enough for children to love and sophisticated for adults to comb over. We don't see this kind of deliberate cross-hatching too often. Each page is like an 18th century engraving.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great little book. I can't recommend this enough, I really enjoyed the illustrations, the concepts presented, the theme, just everything. I find myself flipping though Set to Sea even weeks after picking it up, and giving it a quick re-read for a delightful detour from my normal day.
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