My god, this is a gorgeous book. It's the perfect match of an artist with work about which he obviously feels completely passionate.
It's clear from every sumptuously detailed panel, every meticulously rendered image, and every fascinating storytelling choice that Gary Gianni just plain loves Jules Verne's writing. Gianni has obviously lived with this story since his childhood, because every image and angle seems thoroughly considered to amplify the energy and excitement of the story.
In a very real way, readers are treated to a special pleasure that can only come from reading a book of this sort. We get to see Gianni's thoughts and his take on the incredible adventures of Captain Nemo and his famous, amazing, and very Victorian submarine: Nautilus.
As for the story, if you've never read it, you're in for a wonderful treat. Verne presents a stirring adventure in Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea; it deserves its position as a classic. If you've never experienced the giant squid, or the maelstrom, or spent time inside the amazing glories of Nautilus, well, I can't think of many ways that are more wonderful than in the pages of this edition of the book.
I especially enjoyed the way that Gianni invoked a long-gone era with his art. It's not just the Victorian clothing of the protagonists and the ornate design of the sub and its tools, the by-gone era is also invoked by the seas teeming with fish, by primitive native tribes (a native tribe could never be treated as primitive these days), and by a certain look and attitude that Captain Nemo and his companions have. They all really look like Victorian men with attitudes to match their appearances, and the book is bereft of a female face.
As if the Verne story isn't enough, this book also includes an wonderful adaptation of a short story by H.G. Wells that contains similar themes to Verne's story. Gianni does a wonderful job illustrating that one as well. Finally, the book also contains a wonderful introduction by another giant of science fiction, Ray Bradbury. I found myself reading Bradbury's essay over and over again, just glorying in the sumptuous beauty of his words.
Jules Verne's Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea delivers Verne, Gianni, Bradbury, and Wells. How can anyone ask for a more storied and wonderful group of creators? This book is a true treasure.
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