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 Gwennys 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 theyve 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 Jasons deadpan style and wit perfectly, creating a uniquely smooth and successful collaboration.
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"Norwegian cartoonist Jason works with a writer for the first time, and its 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 Millionaires 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
Praise for Jasons Previous Books
"Jason continues to be one of the best cartoonists working anywhere." Publishers Weekly
"Jasons work is poetry. Beautiful and frightening. Redemptive and hopeless. He is the Kafka and Keats of the comic world." Sherman Alexie
"Its impossible not to love Jasons hapless cartoon characters; theyre 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..." Newsarama
"[Jason is] still one of comics best storytellers, and its always a treat to spend time in his world of off-brand pulp clichés and not-always-so-funny animals." The Onion A.V. Club
"[T]he furtive griminess that Jason wrings from his stock character designs is impressive to behold... [y]oull enjoy any number of his typical moments of storytelling grace." The Comics Reporter
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