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Blacksad: A Silent Hell Hardcover – July 24, 2012

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 and up
  • Series: Blacksad
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Originals; First Edition edition (July 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595829318
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595829313
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Noel Hynd on July 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Blacksad is a comic album series created by Spanish authors Juan Díaz Canales (writer) and Juanjo Guarnido (artist), and published by French publisher Dargaud. Though both authors are Spanish, their main target audience for Blacksad is the French market and thus they publish all Blacksad volumes in French first. A Spanish edition usually follows about one month later. Now the most recent adventure of John Blacksad has made its way into the English language. Comic fans will love it.

Rendered in a film noir style, the stories are set in late 1950s America. All of the characters are anthropomorphic animals whose species reflects their personality and role in the story. Animal stereotypes are often used: for example, nearly all of the policemen are canines, such as German Shepherds, Bloodhounds, and foxes, while underworld characters are often reptiles or amphibians. Attractive female characters are sometimes depicted as cats. Well, wny not?

The strip puts forth a dark dirty-realist style. The artwork uses clean, realistic lines. Very detailed watercolor drawings, including real-life places and cities, contribute to the realism and arresting (no pun intended) nature of the series. Nevermind the fact that characters are animals.

John Blacksad, for those as yet uninitiated, is a hardboiled private investigator in the New York of the 1950s. He is also a big black cat. Blacksad was raised in a poor neighborhood and spent much of his youth running from the police. Now he helps them. Sort of. Weekly is Blacksad's occasional sidekick. Weekly is a weasel who doesn't much like soap and water and has an odor problem. His nickname comes from rumors about him only changing his underwear...weekly. There's also Smirnov, Police commissioner and friend of Blacksad.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Mid-20th century N'Orleans and Detective John Blacksad is in the Big Easy, hired by the suggestively named Faust, the owner of a popular music label to track down Sebastian "Little Hand" Fletcher, a wayward jazz pianist and the star of the label whose heroin addiction may have gotten the best of him. But as Blacksad investigates the characters' murky lives in this outwardly jovial town, he finds the place riddled with corruption and murder, a bloody trail leading from the poorhouses to the highest levels of power. But there's a killer on the streets and the air is filled with mardi gras and voodoo... and time is running out.

For those new to this series - and really, you can just start right here rather than pick up the previous book - this is the world of Raymond Chandler and James Cain; that is, noir. But with animals. Every character is an animal-headed humanoid doing the things humans would normally do. And the book does hit all the noir buttons - the gritty detective, the dames, the drugs, the smoky bars and boozy nights, the fights and deaths and guns. If you love noir, comics, and animals this is your book.

But my problem with this book, like the first book, is the lack of originality in the characters and story. Blacksad is your average gumshoe: he's tough, he's street smart, he's tortured and angry - and he's unoriginal. Same goes for every character in the book. The evil rich guy, his entitled smug son, the working class depicted as honest, salt of the earth heroes, and so on. And the story of finding the pianist is barely touched on because it's over really soon and the subplot of the masked killer is easily solved by page 3 - it's as obvious to figure out as an 80s Columbo TV movie where the bad guy is always the most famous person in the cast.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martin Kilroy on August 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido do it again in the new Blacksad story, "A Silent Hell." They lead the reader on a journey through a crime story that is filled with the same amount of complex twists and turns of a much longer novel or film. This can be confusing at times but makes for a fun read for the attentive reader. I spent a lot of time flipping back and forth between pages, just as I would in a crime novel, in order to retrace clues and reassemble the flashback intensive narrative. Not only do they lead the reader through a well-written narrative but an artistically dazzling one. This may be Juanjo Guarnido's finest Blacksad work. Of particular note is the opening striptease scene, a barroom brawl and a chase sequence that culminates in a Mardi Gras parade. His skill is further demonstrated in his surreptitious placement of characters in the background that serve to illustrate Blacksad's process as a detective and invite the reader to do some work of their own. I also enjoyed the references that evoke past works of the crime genre, including a quotation attributed to Jean Paul Sarte, which links the work to Camus' "The Stranger" in its existentialism. The scenes between John Blacksad and Faust are also reminiscent of the opening scene of "The Big Sleep," when Philip Marlowe meets General Sternwood in that ridiculously hot greenhouse. My only complaint is that I wish this volume contained two stories but the back up features, including a look at Guarnido's process and 2 two-page short stories make the shorter length a little more tolerable. In conclusion this is a great hardcover collection of one of the best comic books being published. I can't wait for the next one.
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