The Great Shadow Migration (2000)
Review From Animation Blast Magazine #5

Upon first glance, Michel Gagné's latest work, The Great Shadow Migration, might be easily confused for a children's book. After all, there are large illustrations on every page and few words. But that notion quickly vanishes once you read the book. With a combination of spectacular artwork and philosophical message, this incomparable book is well on its way towards becoming a classic.

There's sound reason for reviewing this in Animation Blast because Gagné is a special effects animator with a long list of Hollywood credits to his name. He was the 2D special effects supervisor on Warner Bros.' The Iron Giant and is performing the same task on their upcoming animated feature, Osmosis Jones. Astute animation fans will also recognize him as the creator of the cult animated short Prelude to Eden.

As in his previous two books, Gagné has once again crafted a meticulously detailed and magical world through his exquisite black-and-white ink drawings. The art feels abstract and surreal, yet organic and lively, all at the same time. This minimalist, primordial world that Michel has built - one where creatures come in all different shapes, sizes and forms - is simply a visual experience unmatched by anything else out there. But there is much more than simply great art here. The thought-provoking nature of Gagné's story forces the reader to think beyond the book's square pages to truly understand its meaning. This reminded me of the work of another animation artist (and eventually live-action director) Frank Tashlin who showed with his 1951 volume, The World That Isn't, that the illustrated book format can indeed be a very powerful medium if utilized properly.

Like Michel's previous storybooks, The Great Shadow Migration is published in a limited edition of 1000 copies, each signed and numbered by the artist. The book can be ordered through

Reviewed by Amid Amidi.