Sunday, 23 August 2015

Blacksad (#1-3) NSFW

NSFW:  Image of furry boobs!

"I was breathing in a vicious atmosphere of hate, vengeance and corruption" - John Blacksad.

Time for more anthropomorphised animals this month, but of an all together more adult variety. This time it's a Spanish comic by writer Juan Diaz Canales and drawn by ex-Disney animator Juanjo Guarnido (English translation by Anthya Flores Patricia Rivera).  This volume collects the first three stories published during the noughties; "Somewhere Within The Shadows", "Artic Winter" and "Red Soul".  It is set in an America of the late nineteen forties and using the techniques of noir has the titular private detective John Blacksad investigating crime in a city riven by racial tensions and communist paranoia and so on.  However this detective is in fact a humanoid cat.  All the characters are humanoid animals and they are imbued by the astounding art with incredible expressiveness, it really is one of the most beautifully drawn and painted comics I have ever read. As foreigners writing about some very specific American issues of the mid-twentieth century Blacksad the character is able to bring their outsider's perspective to them.  Like his hardboiled pulp inspirations Blacksad is a lover, a cynic, morally grey and can handle himself with his fists and a gun most of the time.  While the stories might not be entirely original, setting them in what's usually a "cutesy" world of anthropomorphic animals gives the stories a freshness and approachability they might lack if it was just a human pastiche of noir tropes.  So without further ado, lets dive in (and I apologise for how freaking long this is, I couldn't find a way to split it up sensibly, sorry! Enjoy the pictures at least).

SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE SHADOWS - This first story begins with Blacksad (who likes to talk like a hardbitten PI in his thought captions) having been summoned to the murder scene of a beautiful woman lying in bed.  He is asked by the dog detective Smirnov if he recognises her, he does.  He asks in return if they found anything, any clues at the murder scene about what happened.  Smirnov says no.  Blacksad says he hadn't seen her in a long time, as he leaves Smirnov tells him to heed his advice and "keep his muzzle out of this case."  Blacksad tells Smirnov to "go to hell."
Blacksad remembers Natalia
He retires to his shabby office and remembers the woman who's name was Natalia.  He first met her when she was frightened because someone was sending her tonnes of flowers and death threats. He dealt with the problem and they fell into an affair shortly thereafter.  But she was an aspiring actress:

Blacksad: "And nobody's perfect, and perfect love doesn't exist. Circumstances took over and tore us apart."

He looks out over the city and thinks to himself that the murderer is out there somewhere and will pay for what he did, even if he hadn't seen her for a long time.

He first visits a gorilla called Jake who was her bodyguard for a while.  He fired her after some different private security was arranged for her.  Blacksad asks Jake if he remembered any specific threat to her.  Jake say no, but she had a lot of "admirers" if you know what I mean.  Jake said she didn't seem to miss Blacksad at all, and Blacksad leaves without a further word.

He breaks into the office of one Leon Kronski, an writer who appeared to be her last lover. His flat is a wreck, like he left in a hurry.  The cleaning lady arrives and when Blacksad questions her she said she didn't see Leon leave, but someone told her he was going away for a while, she doesn't remember his name but she does remember "his bulging eyes".

Blacksad then visits the office of a raging asshole of an agent.  He is furious that Leon has gone missing.  He doesn't know where Leon is either, but he was told he was going away by "a fellow with bulging eyes". 
He does indeed have bulging eyes.
After leaving him to his yelling, Blacksad notes he is being followed by a man with... bulging eyes.  He's a lizardman dressed all in black who comes at Blacksad with a knife.  Blacksad can handle himself in a fight and wrestles the man to the ground.  But before he can get any information from him, he sucker punches Blacksad in the stomach and escapes, leaving Blacksad cursing for underestimating the fellow.

The action then cuts to a shadowy figure contemplating his collection of beetles.  The lizardman is reporting to him and the shadowy figure makes veiled threats against him about what happens when you cease to be useful.  He says he'll take care of Blacksad.  The lizardman leaves and the shadowy figure sends his other man, a weasel fellow to follow him saying the lizardman has something of his.

The weasel shadows the lizard through the streets until the lizard gets to a bar full of other lizard and reptile like men.  He hands something over to the bartender and asks if he can slip out the back.  The bartender says they'll deal with his pursuer.  The weasel bursts into the bar and is quickly surrounded by lizardmen, "hairy guys like you are not welcome here."

But the action cuts back to Blacksad before we can see what happens to him.  He is in a strip club which he ponders that Natalia would have only gone to to please Leon.  The pig bartender remembers Leon and the beautiful woman he was with, but hasn't seen them in a while.  A ratlike man sitting at the bar says he can give some information to Blacksad "for a price of course."

He leads Blacksad, despite Blacksad's cat-like repulsion towards him, to a graveyard.  There he shows Blacksad a grave with "Noel Krisnok" on the gravestone.

Blacksad: "My search had come to an end in front of a sinister riddle.  Noel Krisnok was an anagram of Leon Kronski.  Two names for one corpse".
The fate of Noel/Leon discovered.
Blacksad wonders what caused his death, was it loving the wrong woman?  The ratman has disappeared and suddenly Blacksad is flanked by a bear and a rhino.  They beat the everloving shit out of Blacksad and ask him if he's got the message.  He tells them "fuck you" and they knock him out.

He wakes later and still groggy, stumbles home but somehow ends up sleeping in a police cell.  His brain is still ticking over, and he realises that to eliminate and erase a man's indentity would be something only a very rich person could do.  He falls asleep and awakens in a depressed mood.  Smirnov comes to the cell and tells Blacksad straight that he had him "arrested" for his own good.

Smirnov says his investigations have taken him to a very high place and he has been told to bury the case.  He has no choice but to comply:

Smirnov: "I'm out of the game, but you're not.  This is my proposition: eliminate the murdering son of a bitch and I'll personally cover your back."
Smirnov
A surprised Blacksad asks why?  And Smirnov says he likes to believe in a better world where "even the powerful pay their debts".  Blacksad walks home and thinks he needs to find the man with the bulging eyes.  But when he reaches his home, waiting inside is the lizardman he seeks who punches him and then holds a gun on him.

He shows Blacksad the weapon that killed Natalia, sealed in a plastic bag with "the prints from his dirty fingers signing the crime."  He's a blackmailer who got ahold of the murder weapon and believes Blacksad to be a blackmailer too.  Before the conversation can go any further, the lizardman is shot through the chest.  He falls and Blacksad grabs his gun and shoots the man outside on the fire escape, killing him.  It was the ratman he met in the bar.

The dying lizardman says to Blacksad that he "endured all kinds of humiliation" but thought he'd got even one day.  He says he got the chance when "he" started seeing Natalia.  Unfortunately for her and Leon, she wasn't a one-man woman.  And so Leon was killed:

Lizardman: "And with the same cold blood he personally killed his own girl without so much of a flinch, he blew her brains out.  Because Ivo Static is a sore loser."
The villain revealed.
He dies, leaving Blacksad contemplating the name he had been given.  He decides to pay a visit to Ivo Static, who's office is located atop a huge highrise block of offices.  He was the kind of person "rich in priviledge and poor in moral fibre."  The office is being guarded by the bear and rhino, but this time he is ready for them and beats them down.  Then he goes to confront Ivo Static.

Ivo Satic, another reptile-like man, congratulates him on getting thus far and calmly offers him a job as a "handyman" while staring down the barrel of the gun Blacksad has pointed at him.  Ivo says everything is negotiable and writes Blacksad a cheque for one hundred thousand dollars.  Blacksad retorts that money:

Blacksad: "It can't bring the dead back to life and it can't quiet the conscience of those needing vengeance.  Can't even stop me from killing you."

Ivo laughs and says Blacksad won't pull the trigger because his conscience won't let him.  He lacks what is needed to get as far as he has - "cold blood".
The villain killed.
And Blacksad shoots him through the head killing Ivo instantly.  The smirk Ivo had on face just beforehand being the straw that broke the camel's back.  Smirnov closes the case, putting Ivo down as a suicide.  At the police precinct are the beaten up bear and rhino who both say Blacksad was at the office when Ivo died, but Smirnov says Blacksad was home when it happens, oh and also they are going to be interrogated about the deaths of Natalia Wilford and Leon Kronski.

Outside Smirnov says to Blacksad that he doesn't feel good about what they did.  Blacksad says that's the downside of having a conscience.  And he leaves thinking to himself.

Blacksad: "From that day forward, that has been my world.  A jungle where it's survival of the fittest - where people act like animals.  I had chosen to walk the dark path in life and I am still on it."

And that brings the first episode to an end.

ARCTIC NATION -  This episode looks at the stupidity of racism which is especially problematic in the rundown area of the city known as "The Line."  Blacksad is investigating the disappearence of a young girl called Kaylie.  Her teacher is the one who hired Blacksad, her mother hasn't even reported her missing.  It's been attributed to the "Black Claws" gang.  Blacksad says he'll find Kaylie.
While hate is preached, Blacksad meets Weekly.
Later Blacksad arrives on the scene of a white hate group, with an inflammatory speech about white superiority being given by a white dog (the story calls him The Fox in places, but he looks like a dog to me).  And other animals with white pelts are giving out unpleasant white supremacy leaflets.  A stoat-like reporter called "Weekly" who has been bugging Blacksad asks him to come share a drink with him and they repair to a nearby bar.

While they enjoy their drinks, the white dog and a couple of his white gang members come into the bar and point out the "no coloureds allowed" sign to an old, blind crow sat at the bar.  Then they turn their attention to Blacksad, who cheekily asks if the white of his chin is enough.  There is a short scuffle that ends with one of the white supremacists being thrown over the bar, and the white dog demands the barman "call Chief Karup".

We cut to Blacksad and Weekly in Karup's office, he is a pure white polar bear.  He accuses them of being anarchists and gives them a lecture on his idea of the law before tell them to take a hike, they aren't welcome in The Line.

Later Blacksad is at a drive-in unenthusiastically watching a film.  He's actually here to meet Kaylie's mother, Dinah.  She does indeed proposition him while he is in his car, he says he'd like to meet her somewhere private so he goes to her flat after the show and talks to her there.

Dinah: "You must think I'm some sort of monster for not reporting Kaylie's kidnapping.  But believe me, I have good reason not to trust white 'justice'".

Blacksad says justice is supposed to be blind.  But Dinah says there is a war going on in The Line and the way things are going, coloured people are going to lose.  But "vengeance is a dish best served cold."  She then says she was previously a maid working for Harup and the way he looked at Kaylie made her "blood run cold."  Finally she breaks down over Kaylie being in the hands of "some pervert".
Dinah, with an important marking on her chest.
Blacksad comforts her, then asks if she had a relationship with "old man Oldsmill's son?".  She angrily slaps him and calls him a sonofabitch.  The next day Blacksad reports this to Weekly and asks if his sources are reliable.

Suddenly the newsagents they are in is invaded by a gang of black gang members.  They knock out the shopkeeper then turn their attentions to Weekly.  They want him to run a story that says they didn't take Kaylie.  They say Karup's scapegoating them to cover up for Oldsmill and "that retarded son of his again."

The gang leader then turns to Blacksad and goes to paint his white muzzle black.  But Blacksad says to him  "you put so much as a freckle on me and I will end you."  And points a gun at the gang leader's stomach.  The gang leaves, saying Weekly better do as they ask.

Later Weekly and Blacksad are on a stakeout outside Karup's house.  Weekly says he got his nickname from only appearing once a week at the newspaper offices to file his stories.  Blacksad leaves Weekly on lookout and goes to see the mysterious Oldsmill, who turns out to be a rich, white tiger with a massively retarded and in-bred son.
Oldsmill and his dopey son.
Blacksad tells him he's been hired to find Kaylie and if Oldsmill's son is involved.  Oldsmill points at his son and says "who would want to sleep with that reject?"  Oldsmill says Kaylie might turn out to be Karup's daughter as he was married to a black before.  "But then, everyone makes mistakes".  He calls Dinah a "lowlife" and when Blacksad asks what's wrong with being a lowlife?  Oldsmill responds:

Oldsmill: "Let's just say they soil everything.  Before they arrived this place was a model neighbourhood, and now look at it.  Unemployment and misery for everyone."

A coldly angry Blacksad leaves with a parting shot at Oldsmill's son saying sometimes a little mixing isn't such a bad idea.  Meanwhile, Weekly's surveillance of Karup's place pays off as the white dog turns up and Weekly sees him nailing Karup's wife through the window.  He later tells Blacksad he followed Karup's wife to a diner, where she met up with Dinah.  He couldn't fully hear what Dinah said to her but he did hear her say "she's my daughter, I won't let her suffer."
Karup and wife in public.
They speculate that this means Karup might be involved with Kaylie's kidnapping.  Blacksad goes to Dinah's house but finds only her dead body, stabbed to death, possibly with a weapon like the sword Karup keeps framed in his office.  Blacksad confronts Karup outside church.  The white dog threatens him, but Blacksad asks him if "Romeo" was more concerned with protecting Karup's wife. He then asks the congregation:

Blacksad: "And how about the rest of you?  Are you sure Chief Karup is the best person to take care of your sons and daughters in the choir?"

We then get to see Karup later on, teaching the choir of little white children.  The white dog brings him a newspaper with the headline "Suburban Scandal".  Karup rips it up and tells the dog to "gather up the boys at our usual place."  They are going to teach Weekly and Blacksad a lesson.  The dog asks if he believed Blacksad and what he said about him and his wife.  Karup responds by punching him hard and beating him some more, before ominously saying "I haven't killed anyone... yet".

Later Blacksad is searching for Weekly who has gone missing.  He finds the old crow, Cotten, trying to pawn Weekly's camera and threatens him into telling him where Weekly is.  At Karup's home Karup angrily accuses his wife, Jezebel of giving up to the white dog what he's been denied so long. 
Karup and wife in private.
She says that their's is a marriage of convenience and it "looks like you've found something to console you."  He punches her, but she says he can't throw her out of the house as he needs her to keep up appearences.  Enraged beyond belief he yells at her to get out of his sight.

Blacksad is led into what he assumes is a trap, but is actually somewhere close by to where the next actions will play out.  Weekly is being held by a crowd of people in pointy hooded robes with a noose and burning cross there as well.  A figure in a scarlet robe appears, but before anything happens to Weekly, the white robed figures attack the scarlet one and rip the robe off him revealing Karup underneath.

Blacksad hears the commotion and disguises himself in a spare robe to spy on what's going on.  Karup is asked by the white dog to explain what Kaylie's blood stained dress was doing in the boot of his car.  They accuse him of her kidnap and murder and also interfering with their children.  They place him in the noose, he protests his innocence, but they judge him guilty and hang him.
Karup is judged by his hate gang.
Weekly's turn is next, but before they can hurt him, Blacksad swings down and knocks over the burning cross setting the place alight.  In the confusion, Weekly and Blacksad manage to get away.  Chasing them, the white dog is confronted by Cotten who says he'll tell them about how he and the white dog were behind the kidnapping.  The dog shoots him and leaves him for dead. 

Blacksad and Weekly find him though, and he takes them to an abandoned aeroplane hanger close by where Kaylie is sat shivering inside a plane.  Blacksad picks her up and says she's safe now.  Cotten said he helped the dog do it because he promised to take him to Las Vegas.  He dies peacefully with Blacksad saying he'll take him now.
Kaylie found safe and sound.
A while later Blacksad reflects that The Line's police didn't investigate very fully, they blamed everything on Karup.  Blacksad doesn't want the dog to get off lightly though and goes to see him, but finds him dead.  He gets ready to attend Karup's funeral, but Weekly gives him a tip-off that gets him excited.

Jezebel gives a eulogy for her husband while Blacksad watches from a distance.  Then she goes to Dinah's grave, lays a rose and puts her head on the gravestone and cries.  Blacksad comes up to her and without warning, rips open her coat and dress revealing a black marking on her chest same as the white one on Dinah's.  It turns out she and Dinah were sisters and Karup was their father.
A secret relationship revealed.
He'd been married happily to a black woman, but when the moved to The Line, the decay in the neighbourhood caused their marriage to break down and finally he threw her out seven month's pregnant.  She gave birth to her and Dinah, but was left frail and died when they were young causing them to swear revenge on their father.  Blacksad says, "So you comitted the insanity of marrying him".  An arranged marriage of convinience, Jezebel says it was so she could keep an eye on him and also enjoy his frustration at not being able to lay a hand on her.

She seduced the dog, finally given a name - "Huk", and used the rumours that Karup had a thing for children to use Kaylie to frame him.  Huk killed Dinah when she seemed on the verge of telling all, and in revenge, Jezebel killed Huk.  Later Blacksad and Weekly go and visit the teacher who set the whole investigation in motion  Blacksad tells her:

Blacksad: "Don't ever give up, Miss Grey.  We need people like you to make sure our neighbourhood can grow up without prejudice or hate."

And the story ends with Kaylie throwing a snowball and hitting Weekly with it.  Back in the car, Weekly 'fesses up that his nickname actually comes from him only changing his underwear once a week.  This cheers Blacksad up immensely and he roars with laughter.  The end.
What lies in Kaylie's future...?
RED SOUL - It starts with a poker game.  A rabbit loses big, but grabs his money and makes a run for it.  Blacksad grabs him and returns him to the game where he hands his cash over reluctantly.  Blacksad muses on the dangers of gambling and how he'd been hired by "Hewitt Madeline", the tortoise at the poker game table as a bodyguard.

He returns, with Madeline to his home city where Madeline wants to buy some art.  While in the gallery he bumps into Smirnov, the cop from part one, and his wife and two kids on a day out.  Blacksad smoothly intoduces himself to Mrs. Smirnov and she invites him and Hewitt for dinner.  Blacksad must decline and they bid each other goodbye.

He decides he needs to look for "a distraction that would help clear his head". And picks up a leaflet on a debate about nuclear power.  Hewitt and he leave the gallery and Hewitt complains about the price of the art he was offered.  Then he invites Blacksad to a club with him, but Blacksad says he's going to the debate.
Otto Leibber the owl and Samuel Gottfield the dog.
We then jump forwards to the end of the discussion.  A dalmation is presenting it while an owl stands at the lectern having given his speech.  Blacksad assessess the dalmation thus:

Blacksad: "If you believed what was written in the press, Samuel Gottfield was a lot of things.  Young, rich, handsome, full of life, idle communist.  After a show like that I could've added another.  Asshole."

Blacksad is actually there to see Otto Liebber the owl.  They embrace and Otto says he's "all grown up" now.  Samuel Gottfield drags Otto off in a hurry as anti-communists hurl bricks through the window.  He invites Blacksad to a get together at "our place on tuesday" and against his better judgement, Blacksad goes.

He wants to see Otto again, the man who built a charity mission where he lived as a kid growing up.  Now Otto is one of "twelve apostles", leftist intellectuals who gather together under the umbrella of Gottfield's philanthropy.

Blacksad walks amongst the intellectuals at the beach party.  And spots a beautiful woman, Alma Mayer, a writer.  Gottfield has got so hammered he tried to walk on water.  Blacksad and a couple of others rescue him from the water and drag him off back to his house while he rambles away.
Alma Mayer.
Then a monkey called Laszlo starts laying into Otto, saying he's a hypocrite for being a pacifist who was also "father of the bomb".  A small owl, called Otero says he's just jealous he's not the one up for Nobel consideration.  Laszlo marches off saying he doesn't care about the prize, he only hopes the academy "won't make the mistake of putting an imposter up on a pedastal."

The party breaks up, Otero who was still wet is given Otto's hat to keep him warm.  Later Otero is alone in his home and a crocodile appears behind him and holds a knife to his throat, before killing him off panel.  A couple of days later at Gottfield's house he is watching with great concern TV coverage of a rooster - Senator Gallo - who has a list of members of the communist party in America.

Gallo: "If we must, we'll go from house to house and will search every dark corner, and we will leave no rock unturned, until we find and crush the scorpion of communism."

Blacksad and Alma are there also, Alma wants Blacksad to find out who killed Otero.  She's afraid the rest of the "apostles" are also targets.  Blacksad wonders what an intelligent woman like her is doing with the likes of Gottfield, she says he promised her "a romantic honeymoon by Niagra Falls".  Blacksad makes the same offer, but she laughingly turns him down saying she is "spoken for."  Blacksad borrows a copy of her book "La Fontaine Today" and leaves.
Sergei Litvak, Russian painter.
He visits a dog called Sergei Litvak who is an artist and was at the party.  He says that there was resentment that an exiled, Spanish Republican like Otero was head of the American Medical institute. "So you think he was murdered for political reasons?" asks Blacksad.  "No.. by some anti-communist lunatic" says Sergei and gets back to his painting.  As Blacksad leaves, he tosses down Otto's hat to return to him.

Blacksad arrives on the university campus and reflects on his own brief time as a history major, before being expelled for bad behaviour.  He meets Otto Leibber in a room after he's given a class.  He hands Otto back his hat and says he thinks Otero was killed by mistake and the real target is Otto, but because Otero was wearing his hat a mistake was made.  They reminisce for a bit, how his charity mission helped Blacksad. Out of gratitude, Blacksad decides to become Otto's guardian angel.

Keeping watch on him pays off when he sees the crocodile plant a bomb outside the carpark Otto is about to drive out of.  Blacksad rushes in and yanks Otto out of his car, saving him from the explosion.  Blacksad then attacks the crocodile who manages to escape.  A dishevelled Blacksad says to Smirnov, who is now on the scene that he accepts his wife's offer of a dinner invitation.
Blacksad battles "Ribs".
He brings along Alma and after the meal, he and Smirnov go out onto the balcony to discuss the bombing.  The crocodile they have identified as "Ribs", one of the police's most wanted.  They are also having trouble figuring out the make up of the bomb.  Meanwhile a saddened Otto is walking through the rough part of town, and when he comes to a church, now in ruins, he cries.

Blacksad returns home, pondering his theory that it was a professional hit.  Laszlow is waiting for him with a shotgun, but Blacksad manages to disarm him.  Laszlow says he is part of an organisation that hunts Nazi war criminals and he shows him photographs of Otto standing next to Hitler, he was responsible for the bomb targetted at Otto.

The action then cuts to a cowed Gottfield being interrogated by Senator Gallo.  Gallo wants him to tell him all about who the "enemies of our nation" are and threatens him with death in a roundabout way if he doesn't play ball.  Gottfried does spill the beans and anti-communist round-ups begin.  However Blacksad manages to get Alma away from her captors.
Gallo bullies Gottfield.
He takes her to the journalist, Weekly's place.  Saying he needs her to lay low for a while.  He kicks Weekly out and returns to Alma.  Because no dame can resist Blacksad for long, they kiss.  The next day they have obviously had sex.  They discuss the situation.  She says Gottfield had become increasingly obssessed with the prospect of nuclear attack.

Blacksad: "The damned fool.. If he's so sure the planet is going to be destroyed he should take advantage of the beauty around him."

Alma asks if he fears the end of the world.  Blacksad says only if it happens before he can take her to Niagra Falls.  They embrace.
Bewbies!
We then cut to the artist Litvak being visited by the F.B.I.  They try to make him talk but he says he is too old and too sick to be threatened by them.  They inject him with truth serum, but this just kills him.

Blacksad finally goes to confront Otto, who is standing in an aquarium.  He says:

Otto:  "The other day while I was standing in the ruins of my father's church, I came to a horrible realisation:  My life has been one gigantic mistake.  A failed project".

He says he gave up on the neighbourhood too soon and things got worse.  He went back to his home country to create a better world, and it ended in catastrophe.  He chose the wrong side and his homeland is now "a great heap of smoking rubble".

He confesses that he's been feeding Litvak nuclear secrets so the Russians could build their own H-Bomb and maintain a balance of power.  He hysterically grabs Blacksad and says he's made another colossal mistake and now has "no time to fix it".  Blacksad pushes him away and leaves quickly and without a word, leaving Otto a broken man.
Otto having a breakdown.
He goes to Litvak's studio and finds him dead.  He then realises that the painting he was doing contained all the information under the paint.  He goes to the docks where the painting is ready to be shipped to an exhibtion in Russia.  He changes the shipping labels so it will go to Australia instead.

He goes to pack for going away with Alma, when the F.B.I pick him up.  He is taken to an interrogation room where Gallo is waiting for him.  They wan't to know where Liebber is hiding.  Blacksad refuses to help so they say they will frame him for Litvak's murder.  He and Gallo exchange significant looks then we cut to a free Blacksad arriving at Gotfield's house.

Gotfield is manically digging a hole for a fallout shelter.  He tosses Blacksad his house keys and gives him a safe combination.  When Blacksad goes to check the safe he finds a list of people who in the event of the nuclear war, would be rushed to safety and they all support Gallo, "Project Noah".  Blacksad had guessed as much during his interrogation and used it to blackmail Gallo into releasing a false report of Liebber's suicide, which we see Alma reading in the paper while waiting for Blacksad.
Blacksad hands over some insurance.
The list Blacksad inimates he has, would embarrass Gallo and so he let Blacksad go, but not until after two weeks of interrogation, so he missed his date with Alma and although he looked desperately for her, he never found her again. He also passes the list onto Weekly and says not to publish it unless something happens to him.

Blacksad: "Cupid had played another fast one on me...but at least somewhere Liebber was safe".

He receives a letter from Liebber, which Blacksad reads over images of Liebber overseeing the rebuilding of a German town and teaching children again.  He thanks Blacksad for all he did for him.  The episode finally ends on an image of the book Alma left at Weekly's with a message to Blacksad written on the inside cover:

Alma: "Don't say it's superstition.  Say instead it's that Old Black Magic called Love.  Alma".
Alone again...
And that brings this collection to an end.  It really is a superb book, the use of animals isn't just something that'll appeal to furries, it's a fascinating choice with them being so emotive and thanks to the beautiful art fit right into the noir storylines with ease.  The post-war era of America is superbly rendered, a lot of research must have gone into getting the cars and buildings and little details just right.  And it deals with big issues like racism and communism with the perspective of a bemused outsider being factored through the loner that is Blacksad.  He himself is a very attractive creation, and I don't just say this as an owner of a black and white cat!  His reluctant heroics and powerful intelligence drive the plots forwards as he slips quite comfortably into the role of the Raymond Chandler style private detective, both a lover and a fighter.  There have been two more Blacksad adventures since this collection of three were first published, and I shall be covering them on this blog before the year is out.  It's rare that European comics get translated and released into the English market these days sadly, but Blacksad is definitely one of the most worthy of having been done so.  This one cool kitty is well worth your time.  Got it?

[If you want to see more gorgeous Blacksad art check out my look at the next volume in the series "A Silent Hell" and the final one so far: Amarillo]

14 comments:

  1. Great review. I've never heard of this character or series, but it's intriguing. 'What if Philip Marlowe was a cat?' is a question that i've never asked myself, and now i'm wondering why not, because the answer seems awesome.

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  2. Thanks, and there is more to come! It's definitely one of the best uses I've seen of anthropomorphised animals and to have them in an adult genre quite daring and comes of beautifully. I could squee all day over the art and the stories ain't bad either.

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  3. ok thats seriously some of the best artwork i have seen in a comic! Blacksad is badass, lokking forward to reading more about him :)

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  4. I like to think if my cat was a humanoid, he'd be a lot like Blacksad. He's pretty big and strong for a cat, but he probably wouldn't smoke.

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  5. A cat would make a very good detective. Better than a dog, as dogs are very friendly and trusting. Also, black and white cats are the best. I've never met one I disliked.

    Are the animals in this comic symbolic? If so, did you read the comic wondering which animal you'd be?

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  6. I think there is a touch of symbolism to the animals, the bad guys seem to be amphibians and reptiles. Authority figures bears and dogs, female ones herbivores, boffins birds and monkeys. I'd hope I'd be a cat myself, bit of a loner, likes to sleep a lot :D

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  7. It's a shame, because amphibians and reptiles are beautiful and fascinating creatures. Still, I'd rather be a human. I think that the animal that represents me best is myself.

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  8. I'm hoping I get reincarnated as a cat, they have the best lives.

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  9. As animal-headed detective comics go, I think this looks a lot better than Bryan Talbot's Grandville. (Must now look for a copy...) Does your copy credit the translator?

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  10. Good point Mr. Toon, the translation was by Anthya Flores Patricia Rivera. I'm going to edit in that info to the introduction, thanks for the heads up :)

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  11. All good. I honestly wasn't sure if they'd bother to give a name in a comic book. A translator can contribute as much to your experience of reading a book as the original author, so I think it's important to give them a shout-out.

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  12. I'm glad you bought it up. I went back and edited in the translator for Uzumaki too, and will henceforth always include the translator's names in foreign comic/manga reviews. As you say, a great translation really does add enjoyment.

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  13. Kinda reminds me of the one time Jim Davis ended up publishing an anthology of stories based on Garfield that were aimed at a more mature audience. One of them was a black and white detective story that was quite good. It was also pretty dark. I like what I see here. Will definitely check it out. Yay furry stuff! Thanks for the recommendation.

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  14. Thankyou, I'm sure you'll enjoy it, and there have been two more stories published since this collection too :)

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