February 13th, 2011



100 COMICS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE (or grow out of them)

#11 GLACIAL PERIOD – Nicolas De Crécy
(NBM Publishing)

“And apart from children, what beings are naïve enough to express themselves through drawing, in your opinion?”

In a distant, frozen future a team of archaeologists trek across a landscape of glaciers and seracs in search of the treasures of the past. With them are several genetically engineered dogs, who have been enhanced with pig DNA to make them more human without actually making them more human, because that would be creepy. One of them has also been given a sense of smell so powerful he can ‘smell history’. That comes in handy when they discover a cache of artwork from the Louvre.

Glacial Period was one of a series of comics commissioned by the Louvre, which means Nicolas De Crécy had free rein to incorporate its art into his own. As the team of squabbling academics explore, they try to deduce what the past was like based on this art and often are hilariously wrong – one comes to the conclusion that we must have had thick skin, like walruses, to survive the cold in such thin clothes. Confused by the strange concept of hanging images on walls they presume a sequence, and try to construct a story from them. Essentially, they try to read the Louvre like a comic book. As they do, famous paintings become the panels of the comic we’re reading. But the story the historians create is their own; they see what they want to see rather than what’s there. Even when they come across pieces that are literally able to speak across the centuries to them, the future re-shapes them to become whatever they need.

It’s a message so clear it doesn’t need to be examined further or explained, one that might just have a chance of surviving the centuries and any frozen apocalypse to come.