Blacksad

Blacksad

Book rating: 05 Hardback Blacksad

By (author) Juan Diaz Canales, By (artist) Juanjo Guarnido

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  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics,U.S.
  • Format: Hardback | 184 pages
  • Dimensions: 214mm x 276mm x 18mm | 962g
  • Publication date: 22 June 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Milwaukie
  • ISBN 10: 159582393X
  • ISBN 13: 9781595823939
  • Illustrations note: chiefly col. Illustrations
  • Sales rank: 10,871

Product description

Private investigator John Blacksad is up to his feline ears in mystery, digging into the backstories behind murders, child abductions, and nuclear secrets. Guarnido's sumptuously painted pages and rich cinematic style bring the world of 1950s America to vibrant life, with Canales weaving in fascinating tales of conspiracy, racial tension, and the "red scare" Communist witch hunts of the time. Guarnido reinvents anthropomorphism in these pages, and industry colleagues no less than Will Eisner, Jim Steranko, and Tim Sale are fans! Whether John Blacksad is falling for dangerous women or getting beaten to within an inch of his life, his stories are, simply put, unforgettable. * Dark Horse is very proud to present the first three "Blacksad" stories in a beautiful hardcover collection, completely relettered to the artist's specifications and with the latest album, "Red Soul," in English for the very first time. * This internationally acclaimed series has won nearly a dozen prestigious awards -- including the Angouleme Comics Festival prizes for Best Series and Best Artwork-and is a three-time Eisner Award nominee.

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Customer reviews

By 365 Graphic Novels 04 Apr 2013 5

This hardback book collects the first three out of the four Blacksad books. As far as I know this is the only way to get hold of volume three in English. It is either long out of print or was never released as single volume. It is great getting all three stories in a sturdy hardcover. Here are my reviews of the individual stories.

Blacksad: Somewhere within the Shadows

This is a classic noir detective story where the human characters are portrayed with animal faces and characteristics according to their natures. Originally published in French, Blacksad refers to the main character, private detective John Blacksad.

The art in this book is superb, as you would expect from ex-Disney artist Juanjo Guarnido. The glossy Technicolor medium of comics finds it hard to do noir effectively without it just becoming murky. Guarnido's amazing watercolour work and profound understanding of lighting is a superb fit. This truly is a cinematic book, just "like a film on paper" as Jim Steranko's introduction puts it.

The animalisation of the characters is so appropriate it becomes transparent. What better detective than a curious cat right? Just the faces look like animals the rest of the body is human but does retain their particular colouring. The rest of the world is human too with classic automobiles and cityscapes straight out of film history.

Although a translation everything looks and feels appropriate. All the street signs, matchbooks and newspaper headlines are in English. The boxes and balloons are oversized to make substitution easier which is a little disappointing as it covers much of the art and draws too much attention to them.

The plot is classic noir staple and our hero suitably embittered, troubled and far too curious for his own good. Very enjoyable in every respect. A classic Thumbs Up!

Blacksad: Arctic Nation

Cats and racism. Not something you would instantly think of putting in the same book. Detective John Blacksad takes on the case of a missing girl and uncovers a murky world of prejudice.

This is a difficult book. The setting has shifted from generic Western country to unmistakably USA. A noire pulp detective story is hijacked by a civil rights, Nazi, KKK theme in a most unsubtle way. There is also a lot less polish evident as some clunky bits of dialogue or translation spoil the flow.

Beneath these awkward elements is a very good detective story, although you never get enough details to figure it out yourself and must wait for the reveal at the end. The art works very hard and the varied locations give a lot of scope to showcasing Guarnido's talent. The lighting isn't quite as majestic as the previous volume but there are some really good choices in terms of colour and tone. There is more sex and violence in this book and both are handled successfully.

Not the most convincing follow-up but worth checking out for the elaborate plot. Thumbs Up!

Blacksad: Red Soul

This is an outstanding tale. A Hitchcockian thriller with communists, bohemians, fascists and a beautiful woman. You even get to find out what animal Hitler would be. Blacksad is more of a witness to unfolding events than a detective solving the case. He does however have a proper romantic entanglement like every gumshoe should.

The art is great as always with a fantastic scene at an aquarium. There are some wonderful colour contrasts too with real emotion being conveyed through the palette. There is more sex in this volume but it is beautifully and tastefully portrayed and conjures a real sense of intimacy.

A strong Thumbs Up!