The works of Jules Verne is synonymous with the classic stories represented in Amazing Stories over the many years. Why? Since the inception by Gernsback in 1926, the importance of imagination and imagery has become the basis of fandom and the perfect example for all those who followed as to what makes for brilliant science fiction. So any time the topic of Verne arises, the interest from the true fan will always be peaked.
When I found the hardback graphic story Voyages into the Deep – The Saga of Jules Verne and Captain Nemo by François Rivière and Serge Micheli on the discounted book shelf at a local comic store, I couldn’t pass up the chance to grab it. Did I mention it was only $1.
The premise behind the story, we follow the experiences of Jules Verne as he writes the classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In addition to the character Captain Nemo and his infamous vessel the Nautilus, we are also introduced to some new and exotic characters. But for fans of the classic tale, the mystique behind the eccentric Captain is overshadowed by the twisting tale of Verne’s own struggle to complete the novel as the readers journey is constantly mixing between literary realities.
It is often difficult to follow where we are as the multiple storylines mesh together. The plot by the French writer François Rivière is ambitious and sometimes a little too daunting. There are numerous setting references to help the reader establish the situation, but this does not eliminate the constant bouncing of realities between the action aboard the submarine and Verne’s personal efforts in writing the work.
The artwork by Serge Micheli is perhaps the most compelling aspect of the book. It somewhat of a Steampunk look upon first examination, but the classic French characters come to life in true Verne fashion. Even in a tale of spectacular underwater imagery aboard the storied Nautilus, the artistic vision is not over the top. Every pane represents an important facet in the story with the desired emotion. Unfortunately, the story does not always do the artwork justice as the reader is in constant conflict trying to keep up.
There is good reason Voyages into the Deep – The Saga of Jules Verne and Captain Nemo was on the discounted book shelf. The book does not do the classic work by Verne justice. It is noted on the back cover that François Rivière has written many books including other graphic novels. The curious fan in me wants to seek these out, but the loyal fan in me would rather seek out other graphic works by Serge Micheli, for this was where the true art of Verne came through.
Hey, I’d still gamble $1 any day of the week when it comes to works about the classics.