Retro Rewind: March of the Crabs

Do you ever feel that your life “follows a single path from birth to death, never straying, never able to change track,” because that is the physical limitation of the Cancer Simplicimus Vulgaris or “square crab” in Arthur De Pins’s (translated by Edward Gauvin) The March Of The Crabs. Without the ability to change direction, the Square Crab is symbolic of inertia, but when fate unites two square crabs traveling perpendicular to one another, a friendship is forged, and a revolution begins.

Sunny and Boater are two square crabs brought together by fate, and in a moment of desperation, these two learn that by working together, they can change direction.

Dominque Landerneau and his cameraman, Raymond Richard, are filmmakers that go against their boss’s demand for animals tearing each other apart in favor of their passion project to study the Cancer Simplicissimus Vulgaris. Dominque and Raymond travel to the Gironde estuary to film and meet Yves Ducrouet, Secretary-General of Green Peace France.

Yves is protesting a pipeline being built, while also spending time with his family. Dominque trades his ice-cream for a square crab caught by Yves’s son and explains their project. Yves uses the Ferries traveling back and forth as a metaphor for the square crab.

Ironically, the square crabs can be seen as a metaphor for Roger, the ferry’s Captain. Roger’s wife cites his single path and lack of adventure for why she cheats on him with a member of Green Peace. You bet all of these characters will collide in the climax of book I!

The March Of The Crabs is a lighthearted, fun story all about changing direction. The illustration appears to be vector based, often seen in the graphic design. There are a variety of crustaceans that each come with their own characteristics that add to the story’s humor and also isolates the square crab as a species on its own. The human children are demonized in illustration with fangs and glaring eyes. The humans frighten the square crabs because they like to pull off the crab’s legs; however, Dominique tells Yves that when the square crab evolves it will be “the end of the human race,” which sends the beach in a frenzy!

I recommend The March Of The Crabs. It is a quick and enjoyable read, with a funny twist ending that sets up book II, which I plan to read soon.

Written: Arthur De Pins

Art: Arthur De Pins

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

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