2012 Eisner Award Nominee: Best U.S. Edition of International Material
Official Selection, 2012 Festival International de la Bande Desinée de Angoulême (French edition)
Nominated to the ALA/YALSA 2012 "Great Graphic Novels for Teens" List
Five years ago, little Gwenny’s father found, inside a bottle, a map with
instructions on how to reach the mysterious Isle of 100,000 Graves and its legendary
treasures — and then he vanished. Now Gwenny, having stumbled across
another bottle-shipped map, enlists the dubious help of a shipful of pirates, sets
out to find the island, and her long-lost dad.
Little does she realize that the Isle comes by its ominous name honestly, as the
location of a secret school for executioners and torturers, where apple-cheeked
youngsters are taught the finer points of extracting information from prisoners…
and then putting an end to their lives in a wide variety of gruesome ways.
And they’ve reached the point in their studies where theory should ideally give
way to practice, so an influx of uninvited visitors comes as a blessing to the faculty.
And yes, this story is a comedy. Albeit a dark one.
For the first time in his career, Jason has enlisted a writer: Fabien Vehlmann. (Vehlmann has written a number of
graphic novels for the French and American markets, including an installment of the legendary Spirou series and the
three-volume Green Manor continuity, of which two volumes have been released in English.) Vehlmann has managed to
interiorize Jason’s deadpan style and wit perfectly, creating a uniquely smooth and successful collaboration.
"Norwegian cartoonist Jason works with a writer for the first time, and it’s a terrific
match. His hollow-eyed, animal-faced characters deliver the deadest of deadpan humor ('Get out your
leather gloves. The strangulation finals are about to begin.'). Like Tony Millionaire’s work, this comic
shows that the line between cute and demented is perilously thin — and lots of fun to cross over. Despite
the multiple beheadings and (mostly) jokey torturings, this is a fairly gore-free affair, so while some may
choose not to foist it on kids, its sense of whimsical brutality is right up their alley."
— Ian Chipman, Booklist
"Jason continues to be one of the best
cartoonists working anywhere."
– Publishers Weekly
"Jason’s work is poetry. Beautiful
and frightening. Redemptive and
hopeless. He is the Kafka and Keats
of the comic world."
– Sherman Alexie
"It’s impossible not to love Jason’s
hapless cartoon characters; they’re
dog-faced descendants of Charlie
Chaplin in that way, usually placed
into situations far beyond their
control or understanding..."
– The Stranger
"Jason is — how to put this? — good.
Really, really, really good..."
"[Jason is] still one of comics’ best
storytellers, and it’s always a treat to
spend time in his world of off-brand
pulp clichés and not-always-so-funny
– The Onion A.V. Club
"[T]he furtive griminess that Jason
wrings from his stock character
designs is impressive to behold...
[y]ou’ll enjoy any number of his
typical moments of storytelling grace."
– The Comics Reporter
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