Thursday, October 31, 2013
"It begins with a poor fisherman named Jianyu."
Being nice will get your through life. Being evil will make enemies of potential friends. A nice person encountering an evil person will likely have a difference of opinion on how to proceed in certain situations. Dealing with a sudden increase in wealth that some would consider priceless is such an encounter in 1001 Nights: What's Yours is Mine #1 from Big Bad Boo Productions.
The first issue is written by Victor Nicolle, illustrated by Johnny Castuciano, inked by Marta Ziemnicka and colored by Ziemnicka and Vivian Tan.
Jianyu is a fisherman, struggling to make ends meet in a world where the Emperor isn't shy about flaunting his wealth. His latest fishing trip nets him a mermaid, who brings with her a desire to be free and the offer of a grand pearl as thanks for Jianyu being an all-around good guy. That sincerity is put to the test by the aforementioned Emperor, content to take what he wants from his subjects as long as he's within the letter of the law. What ensues is a back and forth between the two regarding ownership of the pearl.
Nicolle's story is very much a parable of sorts. It carries with it a lesson that just because you have the power, it doesn't entitle you to taking whatever you want. Sometimes (as is the case with Jianyu), you're not as fortunate to be replete with financial wealth, but you make up for it in other ways. Having the pearl made Jianyu the "wealthiest" person in the village thanks to his luck with the mermaid and it's that success that makes the Emperor extremely jealous. Jianyu offers extreme patience when faced with adversity, which is a lesson that many could stand to learn. Nicolle presents this very elegantly as well, relying on relatively strong dialogue to convey the moral of the story.
Castuciano's art is very cartoonish and work really well to tell the story. It's a morality tale that is better served being targeted at children, but Castuciano's art straddles the line between being adult and childish. He uses bold, outlined panels that stand out amidst the background action, with every page featuring a full-page scene in the background. It's a very quirky art style that's very appropriate for the story being told, including characters who wear their "allegiance" to good and bad on their faces.
1001 Nights: What's Yours is Mine #1 is a tried and true story that offers a familiar tale of patience and power. The characters are easy to relate to and help solidify the story. This is definitely more of an all-ages comic that will likely have more appeal to younger readers, but that's not to say that older readers won't get anything out of it. The story and art blend well together and offer a solid reinterpretation of a familiar story. This is also the first of what is expected to be many of stories from the publisher that offer new takes on old morality tales.
1001 Nights: What's Yours is Mine #1 is available now via Comixology.