Blacksad (2010) by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, it’s just like someone deliberately set out to make 1537 bait.

Three great 1940s/1950’s style film noir detective graphic novels in one collection?  stories dealing with power and corruption, white supremacy and the communist threat?  excellent, nuanced characters?  humour and pathos? some great artwork? a guaranteed sex scene in every episode?  Reader, I was powerless.

The fact that all the characters in it are animals, talking and moving in a very realistic human world is an absolute master stroke.  The species of the animals often reveal their characters to us in the most interesting ways, a stolid cop may be a grizzled Alsatian, a wily professor is an owl, a nasty little underworld fixer is a rat etc.  It all comes together a bit more subtly and playfully than that, but you get the picture.  I guess it is the cardinal opposite of anthropomorphization – zoopomorphization ? just guessing.

I had seen Blacksad around for a while before I bought it in 2012, I danced around it a bit because it was expensive but it was worth every penny. It’s a quality hardbound book which has been lovingly put together, one of the stories is appearing in English for the first time – translated from the original Spanish and, hell, there’s even a Stan Lee quote on the cover.

The comics manage to be both emotive and fast-paced, as well as being pretty adult in nature.  All three are very good stories, the middle one ‘Arctic Nation’ particularly so, portraying as it does a society meaninglessly divided between white and black animals and the hypocrisies and (ironically) inhumanity that fan the flames of this ridiculous notion.

Lords and ladies I commend this beauty to you heartily and you should know that owning a copy of this makes you 24.1% cooler and more attractive than you already are; yes, even me.

In order to avoid giving away the plot I have been rather constrained in what I can show you, the artwork throughout is fabulous.

799 Down (still).

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