Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blacksad by Juan Díaz Canales, Juanjo Guarnido

This gorgeous, sumptuous collection of graphic episodes in the life of John Blacksad, Cat Cop, is involving and adult. This is graphic art at a pinnacle of sorts, where the characters are speaking animals who demonstrate both their animal and human natures. The text and the art is loaded with references to familiar cultural touchstones so the meanings are many-layered, often amusing, always fascinating.

I am curious that the authors were both born and living in Europe, and yet the stories are American-based. Perhaps the medium, born (?) and developed in the United States, carries so many references in its form that the authors wanted to keep that authentic feel. This is noir, and Canales and Guarnido excel in depicting the gritty streets.

The stories are good—always some difficult resolution to a thorny ethical issue--but the drawings are spectacular. I particularly remember a depiction of a street in the shadow of leafy trees, the clear or reflective glass of eyeglasses or skyscrapers, and two people talking in an aquarium--the angle being from inside the tank. But every pane is a miracle of sophisticated artistry that one can marvel over again and again. This is not child’s fare, but for a discriminating adult.

You can buy this book here: Shop Indie Bookstores


  1. I have not read many graphic books, but I like animals so this one should be on my list!

    1. Absolutely! It is beautifully done, and the animals have the characters of animals & of humans. It is remarkable.