If this were any other medium you’d likely skip The March of the Crabs, but thankfully it’s not. The March of the Crabs iterates one of the greatest things about the comic medium… you can tell any story. At its core it’s easy to sum up this story, but if you want to do it any kind of justice we need to dig deeper into it. Okay no it’s really just about crabs… the cancer simplicimus vulgaris to be exact. Within the story they’re a species of crabs that can only move left to right. Their only chance of matting is the hope that they come across the opposite sex while walking.
The story opens introducing us to two crabs, they don’t have names at the moment because their species doesn’t do names… no point when you rarely see another crabs face. Our two crabs are playing a guitar that’s been abandoned on the shore, they’ve been lucky enough to run parallel to each other providing company for one another. Due to an unfortunate accident though their lives are about to change as one of them is captured. After that we follow our surviving crab as we see how sad his life is. He walks back and forth missing his friend until he happens upon some brown crabs picking on another cancer simplicimus vulgaris. He decides to save him and by doing so he changes their very nature as he picks up the other crab thus changing his direction of life.
If I may be so bold, while this story is easy going and lighthearted it also deals a lot with identity and conformity. It asks the question of, “just because we’ve always done it that way, is it right?” Obviously that’s a bit deeper than the surface level story of crabs and humans and such, but I think a good story should have both layers of storytelling. The audience should be able to go deeper, while the majority of people enjoy just what they see.
Creator Arthur de Pins has a fantastic pacing for this story. You can’t really predict where it’s going, but that was one of the charming things about it. As I drew closer and closer to the end of the book I wondered what it could do to end on a satisfying note. It does end satisfyingly by the way. Arthur de Pins’ dialogue is sharp and simple. He captures both the voices of the crabs and the humans that take a part in the story as well. Kudos also to Edward Gauvin for the translation.
Arthur de Pins artwork is magnificent. It’s like a magazine ad, or what people would considering “commercial art”, but it works for this story. It gives it an animated look that I couldn’t get enough of. I absolutely adored the style and hope to see more like it in the future. It’s just a beautiful book to look at.
The artwork isn’t just good though, it crafts a story and that comes from the line work. For the line work we see a ton of personality for the crabs and humans. It’s one of the reasons I say it has an animated quality to it because the facial expressions are ample and realistic. The crabs only have their claws to move around so a lot of the body language comes from the mouth and eyes.
I need to talk about the coloring as well. The coloring is a huge part of the style and the muted flat tones are wonderful. They’re the right choice for the style and while it keeps it simple looking, I kid you not it’s anything but. The coloring is very complex and while looking simple to the naked eye, this story would be completely lost without it.
I was more than pleasantly surprised by this story. I wanted more the minute I was finished reading. I know that in France, the country of origin for this story, the series is already complete. Hopefully we’ll get the complete story as well because this charming tale hooked me big time.
The March of the Crabs: The Crabby Condition Writer/Artist: Arthur de Pins Translator: Edward Gauvin Publisher: BOOM!/Archaia Entertainment Price: $19.99 Release Date: 3/25/15 Format: Hardcover; Print
Here more about The March of the Crabs on this week's episode of the CBMFP!