The Yellow Jar
by Patrick Atangan
(NBM, 2002)

A simple fisherman from a small Japanese village finds a large yellow jar during his daily fishing excursion. Shocked to discover a beautiful woman named O Haru San in the jar, he learns that she was placed there by her father to float upon the sea in search of a suitable husband. Coveting the jar, the fisherman claims he found only her, and then seeks to prove to her his worthiness as a husband. She has only one condition he must meet before they marry: he must promise to always be truthful to her. With that, things get interesting.

It's not your typical comic book scenario, to be sure. That is, however, part of the charm of The Yellow Jar: Two Tales From Japanese Tradition, a comic work long on title, as well as beauty and individuality.

As both writer and artist of the book, Patrick Atangan has undertaken a unique task; to translate ancient Japanese stories to comic form, beginning with this, volume one. Here's hoping there will be many more.

Atangan's artwork is unlike anything else you will see in comics today, thus, the individuality I spoke of above. This, best stated in the book's introduction by comic artist P. Craig Russell, is that Atangan's work shows influences of "Japanese woodblock prints and European Art Nouveau." For those of us who have not submerged ourselves in art history quite to the extent of those who have made art their profession, that means this book looks very unusual, and very beautiful. Due to this style, it could be hoped that Atangan will continue to break new ground in comics, as his talent grows with his experience.

The Yellow Jar is one of those works that open up brand new vistas of possibility for the medium of comics. It has the potential to change the expectations of readers, young and old, about what comics can be, and for that, it is highly recommended for everyone.

- Rambles
written by Mark Allen
published 5 July 2003

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