"I checked the local paper for any lost pet notices, but only found a lot of good deals on refrigerator repairs." -- Shaun Tan, "The Lost Thing"
Australian artist Shaun Tan created "The Lost Thing," the story that was turned into the 2010 Oscar winner for animated short. That story and two more from Tan are collected here.
Tan's art is mind-blowing in color and detail. The stories are short but you will stop on each page to pore over the details.
Most detailed and science-fictional is "The Lost Thing," a dry, funny story about a guy who finds a big, living contraption, and does not know what to do with it. In the background of the panels are old-timey ads, technical specs, and a public announcement for "Know Your Diodes."
It's a story about distraction. That makes the tidbits found in the tiny details more fun.
The Rabbits may be seen as a metaphor about harming the environment. But Tan reveals in writer's notes at the back of the book, that it really is about rabbits.
The rabbits are evil. This is a true story, except Tan embellished the part about the rabbits wearing suits. I think.
In "The Red Tree" a girl is having a bad day, in which "nobody understands." It's unrelenting, morbid, and gorgeous.
If the story was just text, I would want to squash its depressing existence, like the comic strip Funky Winkerbean.
But the art saves it. Every picture has three dimensions, with bleak, dark colors. Each page would make a great poster.
The end, though, changes the whole story. It will stop you from jumping off a bridge, if the rest of the story made you climb onto one.
Get this book. It's good stuff.