Imagine never being able to turn around, but only capable of walking in a straight line for your entire life. That’s the problem facing the square crabs in The March of the Crabs Vol. 1: The Crabby Condition by Arthur De Pins. Archaia has just announced the graphic novel’s forthcoming English-language publication, translated from the French.
The crabs walk in their lines, crushed by the ennui of their unvarying routines, and when they meet another crab they quickly mate or move on — knowing they’ll never meet again, there’s no point in more connection than that. But two crabs, Sunny and Boater, begin to question their lot in life, while being threatened by other, more nimble sea creatures, as well as humans who seek to turn their story into a nature documentary. Like Finding Nemo and The Ice Age, this is a story about personal growth mixed with lots of humor, told via the animal world.
De Pins has been published in English before — his horror series Zombillenium is published by NBM — but in his native France he’s just as well known as an animator. March of the Crabs was turned into a well-received cartoon in 2007. In Crabs, his art is all flat shapes and no shading, playing the intricate bodies of the crabs against expanses of sandy beach and water while symbolizing their two-dimensional world. The humans in the story are sly caricatures of scenesters and layabouts who may be just as restricted as the crabs, without even knowing it.
The March of the Crabs Volume 1 comes out in March from Archaia as a 112-page hardcover.