Written by J. Torres, Illustrated and Lettered by Jennifer L. Meyer
Review by Jon Hex Brooks
Imagine being on a boat, a bare bones affair with no amenities, just the basic necessities for survival. You’re crammed in with all the other desperate people hoping that this boat will endure the world devastating flood outside. With 40 days and 40 nights of relentless creaking ahead of you, how do you stay positive, stay sane? This is the core idea of Aesop’s Ark except the people trying to break the boredom are the collected animals of Noah’s Ark.
Scripted by J. Torres with whimsical pencil art by Jennifer L. Meyer, Ark features Noah’s animals telling fables to inspire each other to come together as a community. It’s an interesting premise, as fables usually involve talking animals and here they are not only the stars of the fables, but the fable tellers themselves. This issue involves a turtle whose pleas for help for her husband are basically ignored, though her husband is endangered while trying to keep the boat from flooding. The turtle wife goes to a lion for advice and he sends her back to tell the other animals the tale of a donkey and a mule carrying loads uphill. The fable makes the other animals realize their mistake and they band together to help the husband turtle.
Meyer’s art choices are what bring out the dynamics of this story. The scenes on the Ark are in black & white while the fable is in full color. This gives the Ark are rather dull, enclosed feel. You feel the claustrophobic atmosphere the animals have been pushed into and can understand how it would begin to affect them. The lion is almost always seen peering out a porthole, watching the Flood raging outside. It’s not all dour, though. Meyer brings a playful touch with scenes where many small mammals are using the lion’s tail for a slide or a swinging oil lamp to high five. It’s quite beautiful to read and Torres’s story manages to fully bring out point home without being heavyhanded.
The only complaint I have is that the letters came be hard to make out. They’re written over the art at times, in some they’re written too small or placed closed together. Maybe some ink or a professional letterer would help clear up these slight problems.
Aesop’s Ark is a fantastically rendered fable, easily enjoyed by a those seeking a lighthearted tale or something for their children to enjoy and learn from.