DOING THE ISLANDS WITH BACCHUS, the third book in the BACCHUS saga, is a pleasant departure from the previous volumes. These are whimsical, almost soothing, tales that are, to me, one of the high watermarks of the series. It's here that Eddie Campbell frees himself of the traditional narrative bonds of the first two books, and allows the story to flow a course of its own choosing.
Bacchus, the fertility god, returns to the book's spotlight to serve as our humble host and guide as we're literally whisked through the Greek Isles, with a bottle of retsina and an endless store of tall tales as our entertainment. Whether its interpretations of classic Greek myths, intriguing vignettes on the subject of wine making, or the occasional poignant morality tale, DOING THE ISLANDS is a tour-de-force of loosely connected comic shorts. In many ways, the format of the book, dictated by the fact that many of these stories were originally published in different magazines by a variety of publishers, enables Campbell to display a wide range of storytelling techniques that few artists in the medium are capable of.
And, yes, there's a sardonic pagan sacrifice orgy tale in the middle of the book. If that won't encourage you to try this, then nothing will.
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.