Friday, October 7, 2011

Blacksad


(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

You've probably seen one of those puff pieces on TV or in the magazines about what chefs do outside of their restaurants - if and where they eat out. But, how about cartoonists - do they read other artist's works, and if so, which ones? Through a chain of events, I discovered the works of Aaron Neathery, specifically Endtown. In email, he told me that he likes reading Doc Rat, by Jenner. After another series of events, I corresponded with Jenner, and he told me that he likes reading Endtown, and Blacksad. When I mentioned that I wasn't familiar with this last title, Jenner emphatically "encouraged" me to pick up the Dark Horse hardback collection. And I did.



Blacksad is one of the few non-manga titles that really impresses me. Starting in 2000, it's by two Spaniards, Juan Diaz Canales (writer) and Juanjo Guarnido (artist), who have aimed it at the French market. According to the wiki, there are 4 stories out so far, the first three of which have been released in the U.S. by Dark Horse. It's a "furry" story, and all of the characters are drawn as animals. It's also a 50's hard-boiled detective thriller, featuring a panther-like detective, Blacksad, modeled in the Raymond Chandler vein. If you want a synopsis of the stories, check out the wiki.


(After a hard night of being jumped by goons.)

For me, the artwork is the best part. Not all of the panels are perfect, but the ones that are are filled with detail and lots of background elements. Blacksad himself is an honest detective, but not above dealing out justice when the police have their hands tied. Lots of good-looking females, and some sex. So, if you're under 18, don't read this book.



If you're over 18, I highly recommend it for the action, the pathos and the oddball humor.



Caution, though, that there are "racially" themed subjects, as with the "purebred" arctic creatures trying to purge out the warmer-clime ones, in the Arctic Winter story.



Did I mention the great artwork? I guess, to close out my opening concept that I should figure out some way to contact Canales and Guarnido, except I don't speak Spanish or French...

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