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Book Review < Back

The Yellow Jar

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Patrick Atangan
Publisher: NBM


With THE YELLOW JAR, newcomer Patrick Atangan begins his series of Asian folklore adaptations known collectively as the "Songs of Our Ancestors". This first volume, rendered in the Japanese ukiyo-e drawing style, is described by the publisher as "the world of floating pictures", which I've been told more appropriately translates to "the pictures of the floating world". Semantics aside, if you've ever seen any eighteenth century Japanese woodblock printings before, then you've got an idea of the novel experience that this little book holds.

THE YELLOW JAR contains two tales, beginning with a fable about love and sacrifice; it tells the story of a fisherman who discovers a beautiful woman in a magic jar who demands total honesty in exchange for her eternal love. The second tale is a lesson in humility taught to an old gardener who plays favorites with his two prize flowers, personified as a pair of lovely maidens. Both tales possess an air of simplicity and grace, which one would assume would be the product of an experienced and wise craftsman and not the freshman Atangan.

As far as debut books go, few resonant as deeply as this one. THE YELLOW JAR defies the traditional confines of the comic book form, venturing soundly into the wider world of art.

-- Peter Aaron Rose

Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.


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