The Arrival is a beautifully illustrated wordless comic created by Shaun Tan. The gorgeously done realistic pencil drawings help Tan create a very believable, realistic world. The tiny square panels he uses through out most of the comic feel like snapshots from a film. The story is very clear and even through it is set in a surreal fantasy world, it is a story that we know. It is a story of immigration. The sepia tone adds to the feeling of the piece. It feels old. Like photographs of immigrants from the early 1900’s.
The format for the comic is very clean and simple. The panels are neatly organized and only include information that is necessary to understand the story. I feel this is part of why the comic is so successful even without dialogue. Tan saves his detailed images for his splash pages. Which are works of art. The comic is also very broken down. All the actions and emotions are shown in several beats. It reads like storyboards for a film.
The comic had a lot of charm and beauty to it, from the interesting animals that cohabit the city, to the wacky clothing and everyday items he invented for the world. Tan created a very complete and engaging universe that. I would love to see it be made into a film, or perhaps just another comic involving it. I think that is a testament to its success, when you leave the audience wanting more of your world.