The concept is off-the-wall great: Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist turned not-so-mild-mannered monster hunter is investigating a series of grisly murders of railroad workers and their horses deep in 1860s Yorkshire woods. So far so good. He has been hired by the British Prime Minister for the case because of his little-known interest in the Sasquatch, Almas, and other clawed cryptids. Even better. But somehow the great idea and occasionally terrific artwork doesn’t quite gel.
This is the first book I’ve read in the long-running Dungeon series created by French masterminds Sfar and Trondheim. Despite being the fourteenth translated volume in the sprawling spoof saga which has veered out to five individual branches detailing life and bloody death in this fantasy land making mockery of Dungeons & Dragons, I felt I hit the ground running.
Spirou and Fantasio is one of the great comic creations from the Franco-Belgian lineup, much loved since the intrepid titular team of newspaper reporters first appeared in 1938. This album, 39th out of 60 or so, is peculiarly the second one translated and published by Cinebook, and far as I can tell, only the third Spirou book published in English.
Despite being of the wrong gender and about 30 years too old to be in the target audience for this science fiction adventure, I couldn’t help but be carried away by the beautifully precise artwork, carefully considered characters and energetic plotting of this book.
To my estimation and experience, Sergio Aragones is the finest living cartoonist. He is also the fastest. He delivers art by the pound, and even today at 73 years of age his genius remains as quick and apparently effortless as it was in 1963 when he first appeared in MAD Magazine.
Nicolas De Crecy has the naturalistic fluid line of a master cartoonist. His work in Salvatore is deceptively simple, but it suits the story with the hand of a master tailor. Although the plot appears lightweight and may be too low-key for some readers, the accumulative power of the book is tremendous.
The adventures of an alcoholic chain-smoking PI named Canardo. Closer to the work of Charles Bukowski than Walt Disney, this world weary duck has wormed his way into the clotted veins of millions of European comics fans.
If this book, the first volume in IDW’s “Chilling Archives of Horror Comics”, is any indication of what the future holds in store, we’re in for a treat. This gorgeous large-size hardback is priced to be affordable, loaded with wonderful artwork, printed beautifully and selected appropriately to showcase all the different faces of Dick Briefer’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.