Thursday, June 07, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #158: Dungeon: Parade, Vol. 2: Day of the Toads by Joann Sfar, Lewis Trondheim, & Manu Larcenet

Dungeon Fortnight #7

Manu Larcenet continues to provide the art for the back half of the silly, frivolous, shorter stories of Dungeon: Parade, with two more French albums collected here as Day of the Toads. And, in keeping with that silly mission, the first story here, Le Jour des Crapauds, sees the Dungeon invaded by a horde of flying poisonous frogs, while Des Fleurs et des Marmots sends Herbert on a perilous journey down into the depths of the plumbing system to discover what is causing a truly epic back-up.

Though the first Parade book had two stories with some flashes of social commentary, Day of the Toads is much lighter. If you squint, you might be able to find some satire in the vampires of Day of the Toads, but you would need to squint very hard. There could also be a very, very mildly tweaked ecological message in the second story, since unblocking the system will flush away a lush ecosystem of mostly murderous plants and gigantic beetles. (Murderous, since everything in the world of Dungeon wants to kill you.) This is also the story where Marvin, Herbert and Grogro are shepherding a bunch of children for a random and unlikely reason, since the presence of innocent kids is required for all ecological messages. Of course, since Herbert was sent to unblock the system, unblock it he does, no matter what a bunch of tag-along children want.

Day of the Toads is by far the slightest of all of the Dungeon books: they all have moments of humor and a general lightness of concern even when worlds are falling apart, but this is easily the silliest and most frivolous. And that's just fine: something always has to be the most. Being the most fun and goofy is as worthwhile as any other extreme.

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