JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

Another even-day series ...

Something a little different today. You may have noticed that I enjoy a good mystery series, provided it has a cast of equally good and evolving characters. The "Blacksad" series by Juan Díaz Canales and Juan Guanjo meets both of those requirements in very fine noir graphic form. Díaz Canales writes a very fine mystery, full of twists and turns. His John Blacksad is a private investigator with an intriguing past, revealed in bits and pieces as the stories progress. And he's a cat. And most definitely a tomcat at that. ;-) All the characters in the "Blacksad" tales are anthropomorphized animals. But the choices of species for each aren't random or superficial ... they usually say something about the personality that's within, while at the same time that personality is shaped by species. As is physical ability ... most of the time Blacksad moves the way you'd expect his humanoid body to, but he's also capable of moves and positions that are pure cat; ditto for everyone else in his world, depending on species.

And this all comes together because of the incredible artwork of Guanjo ... very few artists could pull off this perfect mesh of human and animal and make it work so convincingly in both body and in facial expression. It's the realistic style that does it ... anything even the slightest bit cartoony would kill the whole thing. Add in Guanjo's amazing attention to the tiniest details ... volume one contains views of Blacksad's cluttered office from different angles and every scrap of paper is in perfect perspective and position in both of them ... and you have a series for which every new volume is impatiently awaited (it's published in French first, translated into Spanish second ... author and artist are Spaniards living in France ... and into English third)

Seeing as it's impossible to properly quote a good graphic at any length, links to some images instead (languages are gonna vary ... I'm going for the eye candy here)

One of the office views
A little fast action
Ethnic relations
Camera zoom-out
Combining cat-posture with homage-to-Batman

The four Blacksad tales translated into English so far, in order, are:
Somewhere Within the Shadows
Arctic Nation
Red Soul
A Silent Hell

The first two stories were originally published by ibooks, whose graphics division then went under at about the time the third was published; the French and Spanish versions of "Red Soul" were released by their regular publishers but the English rights were in limbo for a few years. Dark Horse eventually acquired those rights and published the first three stories in a compilation English volume in 2010, following it up with the brand new fourth story, "A Silent Hell" as a solo last year.
Tags: bookseries: blacksad, reading

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