The Last Musketeer: whimsical, dreamlike, delightful comic

By Cory Doctorow

Norwegian cartoonist Jason's book The Last Musketeer is the kind of whimsy that's easy to do wrong and nearly impossible to get right, but Jason gets it very right indeed.

Athos is an unemployed, destitute musketeer in contemporary Paris, reduced to begging for money to buy booze, when Martians begin bombarding France with a laser cannon. He runs to the home of Aramis, who long ago gave up musketeering and has become a contemporary Frenchman, and begs his old comrade to join him in a fight to save France from the Martian menace. Aramis insists that in the modern world, the President and his authorities can defend France, and there is no need for musketeers. Athos denounces him for a coward, accuses him of betraying the memory of Porthos and runs into the night.

Alone, Athos confronts two Martian invaders, killing one and taking the other hostage, demanding passage to Mars. But as soon as he arrives, he is overcome by the emporer's guard, and there begins the Martian campaign. Athos is jailed, escapes, wins over the evil emporer's beautiful daughter, destroys the laser cannon, and turns a killer robot into an ally.

It's a story that follows a dreamlike, comic logic, always silly and always fun, and every page has several large grins waiting to jump onto your face as you read.

Many thanks to the staff at Toronto's wonderful independent comic shop The Beguiling for recommending it.

The Last Musketeer

Published 9:24 am Sun, Aug 8, 2010

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About the Author

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

12 Responses to “The Last Musketeer: whimsical, dreamlike, delightful comic”

  1. Cheqyr says:

    Based on this page, it appears to have the same wonderfully sparse feel as E. C. Segar’s early “Popeye” comics, like the adventures where Eugene the Jeep and the Sea Hag were introduced.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Jason is excellent, and his comics deserve careful attention in the same way that Jason Lutes’ and Chris Ware’s do.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Jason has made many great comic books. I very enthusiastically recommend “Hey wait!”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_%28comics%29

  4. Trotsky says:

    Looks like some Joost Swarte:

    http://www.google.com/images?q=joost+swarte

    And Hergé:

    http://www.google.com/images?q=Hergé

    I’ve been finding tons of great stuff on comiXology’s Comics app on the iPad. Mike Allred’s Madman and Red Rocket. Valentine by Alex de Campi and Christine Larsen.

    BTW, I still don’t understand what Marvel is thinking. A fairly robust burst of publicity at iPad’s launch, a lot of excited comics nerds, and then they just tripped over their shoelaces. What the hell is keeping them from releasing their entire back catalog of titles? A lot of the titles are freely available in CBZ and CBR format, but Marvel could package them up and sell 100 issues for like $10. Instead, they are trundling out middling titles from a couple years ago at $2 apiece (how many fawking X-Men books did they make). Like twenty-five new titles each few weeks. Maybe a half dozen retro titles tossed in.

    And where the hell is Fantagraphics?! Or Drawn and Quarterly? I think Gary Groth is a Luddite and some of these publishers will only be dragged kicking and screaming to digital distribution, if ever.

    Bummer.

    Bad for them, but good for the smart, young artists who will eat their lunch and take my cash.

    • Hools Verne says:

      Groth has made it no secret that he despises the digital platform, and most small press publishers and artists share his sentiments. Small press comics are geared towards the comic as an art object and formal concerns and the ipad is basically the antithesis of that. The comics creators who are starting to make comics for the iphone and other platforms are doing so grudgingly. Even a good deal of webcomics artists have reservations about digital comics and hold print as a preferable format.

  5. Trotsky says:

    A site called Boing Boing did a write-up earlier this year on Valentine.

    http://boingboing.net/2010/01/27/valentine-multilingual-mobile-comic.html

    A few other germane Valentine links:

    http://publishingperspectives.com/?p=11250

    http://www.valentinethecomic.com/

    I ain’t getting paid by them, just like their stuff.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Do they ever use muskets as the name “musketeer” implies?

  7. coolvoodoo says:

    Is “emporer” some alternate spelling of “emperor” that I am unaware of? Anyway, Mars and robots and comics are always a good mix………

  8. stupidjerk says:

    Jason is truly one of my favorites and his books are a joy to hold. HOLD. Perhaps I’m out of touch, but books like this should be enjoyed as books.

  9. BlackTiger says:

    Actually, the tone in spots definitely reminds me of Mignola’s Hellboy…

  10. Anonymous says:

    Looks like Hedonismbot.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Uh, aren’t you supposed to be laying on a chaise lounge by a lake, somewhere far from computers?

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