Comic artist Will wants to report on the environmentalists at Sea Shepherd. To do this, he travels to the Mexican coast and boards Captain Octavio’s Sea Shepherd ship “John Paul DeJoria”, a former Coast Guard boat converted for hunting fish poachers.
Will helps retrieve illegal fishermen’s driftnets from the ocean, freeing trapped animals and destroying the nets. Will is also hoping to see a Vaquita as Sea Shepherd and the John Paul DeJoria’s Operation Milagro aims to protect the last 30 California porpoises in the Gulf of Mexico.
But what they do is dangerous: some types of fish fetch more money on the black market than cocaine, and the Mexican cartels are now getting involved. Will witnesses poachers shooting at Sea Shepherd surveillance drones and throwing incendiary devices at the ship, which is defending itself with water cannons.
Will is the alter ego of author and illustrator Guillaume Mazurage. The Frenchman was actually planning an adaptation of “Moby Dick”. But the comic veteran friend Pierre Christin (“Valerian and Veronique”) advised his young colleague against it. Instead, Mazurage should focus on an eco-warrior like Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson.
In 2018, the adventurous cartoonist landed on the “John Paul DeJoria” – knowing full well that Sea Shepherd used militant means in the fight against whalers and others, which is why Watson separated from Greenpeace in 1977.
Guillaume Mazurage has distilled his Sea Shepherd experiences, interviews and anecdotes into an interesting, gripping comic about the work of the Sea Shepherds. His sympathies are clearly with conservationists, although he also briefly touches on the poverty of fishermen, which contributes to the situation in the Gulf.
In terms of drawing, Mazurage, which was also influenced artistically by Christin’s influential comrade-in-arms Jean-Claude Mézières, relies on a realistic style that combines the traditions of French comics and yet never lacks the lightness of autobiographical picture stories. For his work, Mazurage received the Mayan Literary Prize for Animal Welfare.