Blacksad, written by Juan Diaz Canales and art by Juanjo Guarnido
Published October 20, 2010
At Stumptown last year, Abe picked up Blacksad from the Darkhorse booth. The lady there gave it such praise, he couldn't resist. And it was worth him having to carry another hardback in his backpack for hours.
The art is by Juanjo Guardino, who worked at Disney in Paris for a while, and you can telll. Amazing art in the great classic-style Disney illustration. I kept thinking of 101 Dalmations because of the style and the actual setting. Subtle watercolors add to the nostalgia. The characters are all animals with people bodies (essentially). And Disney animal faces they are. Those expressive eyes! It was a little disconcerting to see my childhood-memory style used for such adult themes, but damn it looks good.
The book actually contains three stories that follow the cat John Blacksad. His life kinda sicks, bu he does help some people. The characters are all essentially caricatures of themselves, in a good way. Seems like a method that Eisner could get behind - the animal heads are like shorthand to the type of person we are dealing with.
The only negative I had is that the women were less animal than the men. I often couldn't tell you what animal they were supposed to be. I can always tell with the men. The women also had earrings where their human ears would be instead of on their animal ears. But these are minor complaints even though they really bugged me.
Anyways, by the end, all I wanted was more. Warning, though. These guys pull no punches and really use this animal shorthand to discuss some painful topics from that era (and now unfortunately), like racism and war crimes. Like Maus, the animal metaphors are a good way to soften teh blows into more easily managed chunks.
I assumed based on the date of the publication that I shouldn't expect more. That would be too much to ask, wouldn't it? NO! There is another one that came out this July. I will definitely be grabbing it when I can.
I like it enough, I drew a little bit of fan art.