Cover image for The yellow jar : two tales from Japanese tradition
The yellow jar : two tales from Japanese tradition
Atangan, Patrick.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : NBM ; London : Turnaround, 2003.
Physical Description:
48 pages : color illustrations ; 18 x 23 cm
The yellow jar - Two chrysanthemum maidens.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Graphic Novel Central Library
X V.1 Graphic Novel Graphic Novels

On Order



Introducing the delightfully precise and beautifully designed ukiyo-e style (world of floating pictures) art of Patrick Atangan, in these adaptations of traditional Asian tales, a simple fisherman marries a beautiful maiden whom he has found in a magic jar, and then must fight to retrieve her when she is abducted by a far more powerful demon warrior. 'Two Chrysanthemum Maidens' tells the story of a monk faced with two rather strange wild flowers in his carefully tended garden, wild and free-willed weeds that are as lovely as women...

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The comic book has been a foremost medium of literary adaptation since the 1940s success of Classics Illustrated. Comics adaptations have been notably truer to their sources than their principal rival, the movies, though often less than graphically distinguished. Atangan and Mattotti, the artist of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, offer highly stylized alternatives to the middle-of-the-road realism of most comics, so successfully that one forgives the unidiomatic English, elided connective words, and other gaffes in their books' scripts. To render two magical Japanese legends, one about a fisherman who discovers a fair maiden in a big pot, the other about a monk whose fastidiously kept garden is invaded by two chrysanthemums, Atangan charmingly adopts the sharp outlines, boldly juxtaposed color fields, and striking compositions of eighteenth-century Japanese woodblock prints. He compensates a palette restricted mostly to earth tones with plenty of action that, eschewing martial-arts-like violence, is appropriate to the fairy-tale-like narratives. Stevenson's great evil-doppelganger tale achieved its horrific effects by inference, but visual adaptations have made its violence explicit. Arnold L. Hicks' lurid expressionist cover for the first Classics Illustrated version of it provoked protest and was suppressed. Mattotti's virtuosic realization appears to have taken a cue from Hicks'. This is a visualization of intense colors, among which blood red predominates, deployed in the sweeping curves of dynamically drawn bodies, objects, and light effects. Faces and gestures recall the decadence-drenched caricatures of George Grosz, as do the settings on the evening streets and in the brothels and lower-class haunts of London. Odd angles of vision and psychologically resonant details deepen the aura of terror and corruption as they echo the paintings of Edvard Munch and the classic film of expressionist horror, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Despite updating the story from the 1880s to the 1920s, Mattotti makes every other Jekyll-and-Hyde visualization seem inadequate. --Ray Olson

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-Writer and artist Atangan transforms two Japanese fables into an organically serene graphic novel reminiscent of the floating picture style seen in traditional Japanese prints. The title story follows greedy but devoted Nikotuchi in his quest to rescue his estranged wife from the demon warrior Hoso No Kami. "The Yellow Jar" far outweighs the second story in literary quality and reader appeal. "Two Chrysanthemum Maidens" follows the plights of two blossom sisters who at first are mistaken for weeds. However, after they flower, overwrought onlookers separate them, and each in turn pines for the other's company. Atangan's lively drawings and keen sense of detail make for a potentially exciting read, but younger readers might mistake the graphics' muted ink tones as bland instead of exciting. Also, both stories' anticlimactic endings read more like morals than the traditional good versus evil graphic novels, which will no doubt disappoint teen audiences. Still, readers may be drawn to the characters' lively faces and the action sequences.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.