After Jesse Lonergan’s brilliant Hedra, we took a closer look at some more graphic novels/comics. Algerian artist Riff Reb’s came to light soon after that.
His work is pretty epic! He takes classic works of literature and puts his distinctive graphic novel spin on proceedings, with some outstanding results.
Riff Reb’s Men at Sea
Okay, so this is a storybook of graphical reimaginings of canonical literature—all for tales of woe with men at sea.
Laurence Bergreen’s epic Over the Edge of the World offers a fine look at the horrendous perils of sea travel during the Age of Discovery (and beyond).
And Riff Reb’s book makes such common tales all the more dramatic. Straight up, his artistic style is incredible and Men at Sea (2014) is just a visual treat. Behold!
However, there’s more to the work than visual splendour. There are many stories at play here. Some of the works he adapted for Men at Sea are:
- The Sea Horses by William Hope Hodgson
- The Odyssey by Homer (Simpson… lol roflmao 😂😂😂)
- Kernok the Pirate by Eugène Sue
- A Smile of Fortune by Joseph Conrad
- Typhoon off the Coast of Japan by Jack London
- The Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo
- A Descent into the Maelström by Edge Allen Poe
They’re poetic stories, if you please, with eight famous tales crammed into one opus of watery excellence.
As you might imagine, themes of life, death, strife, and survival abound across the ever-arresting comic book style panels.
The stories play out with real verve, with punchy speech bubble quotes driving along the narrative alongside the artwork.
But we find Men at Sea is all about the artwork. Look at this stuff.
So yes, this is a triple thumbs up from us. Classic literature? Check. Fantastic graphical novel stylings? Check. All round excellence? Check.
Men at Sea is an opportunity to catch up with various classic works from the 19th century, all while revelling in 21st century aesthetic.
Seasickness does not abound. And there’s no need to worry about scurvy. Simply buy the graphical novel and revel in the stark oceanic imagery.
A Bit About Riff Reb’s
Born in Algeria in December 1960, Riff Reb’s grew up in Le Havre of that there France. His real name is Dominique Duprez.
Although Men at Sea is pretty dramatic in its stylings, he often also dabbles in more surreal and comedic comics.
Take Glam et Comet (2007), which isn’t at all sea-based and provides a rather more vibrant viewing and reading experience.
Reb’s has cult status and his works aren’t particularly well known around the world.
He also appears to keep a low profile. He isn’t on social media and doesn’t even seem to have a website.
The result is he seems best known in France and the surrounding countries of Belgium etc. Hopefully this will change in future and we might see some fil adaptations of his work.