by Pratheek Thomas
If you are going to read (or buy) only one comic in the next 12 months, then look no further - TALE OF SAND is the one to pick up. Here’s a preview.
Tale of Sand is the story of Mac, who finds himself on a “mission” - the why and what and how of this mission is unknown to him (and to us). Let’s just say he gets pulled into it. But once he sets off (armed with a rucksack filled with curious objects, a map he cannot trust and a cigarette he never seems to be able to get lit), things go wild, wild, WILD (beyond anything you could expect or imagine!)
Sample this: Mac gets shot at (more than once), attacked by a lion, run over by a battle tank, chewed up by a shark; bombed, kidnapped by Arabian horsemen; pursued by a mob, seduced (and betrayed) by a blonde hottie, rescued by a military squad… I could go on… and all of this happens in the middle of the desert.
Tale of Sand is a tour de force, imagined by messrs. Jim Henson & Jerry Juhl (them of the Muppets and Fraggle Rock fame) as a movie screenplay in the 1970s - back then, it gained a lot of interest for its originality, but was never made because no one would finance it - it was the only screenplay that Henson was unable to produce in his lifetime.
But, the story feels like it was always meant to be a comic… and Ramón K. Perez just proves this without a doubt. Exquisitely drawn and coloured, every single page of the book is a master class in the art of panel layouts, pacing and storytelling. From the opening shot of the desert and the dusty little town at its edge to the very last page, there is not a single line that is out of place in the entire story. And Perez pulls off some stunning effects, which I think would be quite impossible to pull off in a film… which makes it even more impossible to imagine anyone anyone but Perez creating it.
The book (and screenplay) is introduced as a “surrealistic comedy-drama” but I’ll also add suspense-thriller, action-drama to it. Because it is all of that - one hilarious, unstoppable roller coaster ride from the moment Mac chooses to cross the line at the edge of the town…
Tale of Sand is the best comic (okay, graphic novel) I have read in recent times… an incredible story filled with innumerable twists and turns, unforgettable characters, eye-popping visuals, a gorgeous colour palette, very little dialogue and a soundtrack complete with music and effects that punctuate the story from start to end.
Regardless of whether you are a first time reader, a comic fan, a collector or an aspiring creator - writer or artist or colourist or letterer - TALE OF SAND is a definite must read.