Saturday, August 30, 2008

Crecy by Warren Ellis and Raolu Caceres

I am still new to this whole comic book/graphic novel world but the other night while reading about who are supposed to be the best writers in the medium I kept on bumping into the name "Warren Ellis". I recognized the name because years ago when I was last into this world I did read all of Transmetrollitan which blew me away (I hope to reread it one day) so I made a note to look into more of his stuff since I already knew that I liked the guys style of writing.

So, when I read that he wrote a 50 page graphic novel about the battle of Crecy I was interested in checking it out as a quick read. I especially got even more interested when I read a review that described it as "a very violent nc-17 history lesson" I was sold.

Now, I have never even heard anything about the battle of Crecy until I read about what exactly this graphic novel was about. As it turns out the battle of Crecy was when England decided to invade France with an a small, under equipped, but highly trained army that was mostly made up of longsbowmen and crossbowmen as France was threatening their home security.

So, as you can imagine the battle was pretty fucking bloody and epic.

Warren Ellis decides to tell the full story of this battle through the perspective of one vile, vulgar, French hating, and nameless longsbowmen who will be fighting in the battle. About 90 percent of the story is told through this character and his ongoing monologue that breaks the 4th wall. Before you even realize it you know why the fight is happening, who are the political figures, and their war strategies.

My favorite moment comes when this nameless soldier breaks the 4rth wall completely and shows the reader the different ways that they infect their arrows (including dipping it in human shit) in order to do as much damage as possible. It really makes you just go "damn." knowing that that this all actually happened.

So, basically, what Ellis does is give you 35 pages of information until you all caught up with everything and then through Raolu Caceres detailed black and white art lets the battle just unfold in its full violent glory for the remainder of the book. Horses get killed, heads get smashed, and arrows enter bodies from every single angle. When its all over you realize that you just learned a full history lesson on the battle of Crecy and you just think”Hm. That was really cool and fucked up" and I am pretty sure that this was Warren Ellis' goal.

It's a quick, short, fun, vile, violent, and vulgar read. I wish it was a bit longer but part of its charm is its length. It's very impressive that Ellis is able to present such a big part of history in 50 pages while always keeping you entertained. History has neve been so much fun.

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