- Paperback: 56 pages
- Publisher: Byron Preiss Graphic Novels (January 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596878177
- ISBN-13: 978-1596878174
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.2 x 12.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,763,992 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Blacksad: Somewhere Within the Shadows Paperback – January 1, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
The Blacksad comics have wonderful art design to them and a well developed story and well composed characters. I know some people cringe at the thought of "furries" but this doesn't really go there, it touches on society issues using anthromorphic characters as archetypes and stylization. Especially in this volume where the artic animals have organized a KKK-like organization.
I sort of regret that Blacksad wasn't done in Guarnido's panels without a single word. I can almost picture how it would look like. Silent stills of an almost forgotten era, picture-frames that speak with a sheer power of visual expression, like a postcard that narrates a story of a world which never really existed yet you know it must have, should have existed because if it didn't none of it would have made any sense, frames that speak in volumes about architecture (both social and spatial) of genre-landscapes and yet defy the logic of the genre. It would have been marvelous.
And yet, words came. Words came with letters guiding them, dispelling the magic, shattering the illusion with one swift but relentless move. Words forced you to read and the things that you read where the things that you read so many times before but unlike the world in itself (which also existed in a long-lost-memory-revealed-again sort of way) you couldn't forgive them. They were too plain, too "earthly", too constructed and logical, too lame to coexist with a beautiful creation that is and was the world of Juanjo Guarnido. Words made the "Blacksad" into something else. They took the power from pictures and delivered the same-old genre routine again. Hollywood divas that wind up dead, tough detectives and wise police chiefs, low-life scum and powerful, untouchable (almost) characters that orchestrate the lives of others from within the shadows. Alcohol and cigarettes, guns and knives, beatings given and beatings received - somehow, words revealed them for what they are - pieces of the puzzle that comes in many different shapes and sizes but somehow always remains the same. Canales took words and with them he made a simple, unremarkable story. Guarnido took brushes and with them he made wonders. These things collided and what remained after the collision were sorry remains of what could've been a great album (or graphic novel as it is called these days). Yet, there are three more albums to go through and maybe something, somewhere will change. "Blacksad" deserves to be given a second chance. Or even a third one.
The art is frankly amazing - Guarnido is a great artist, and he flexes his muscles here. The anthropomorphic characters are drawn in a realistic style that works perfectly, and the book is worth buying for the art alone. The story itself is a Noir one, set in a decaying neighborhood being taken over by racist thugs; fur color is used as the dividing line, while species is usually used as a shorthand to help define the characters.
The translated dialogue is fine; while nothing special, it matches the noir mood and isn't clunky or wooden. The main problem with the book is the pacing - it's too fast. The book is only 56 pages, and they cover a lot of ground. The art is obviously time-intensive given it's quality, but it still would have been better to have a little more breathing room in the book. The storyline and characters are good and have hints of depth, but never have time to reach the level of the astounding art.
"Arctic Nation" is a great book; I just wish it was longer.
All I can say is "WOW!" Mr. Canales's story is so engrossing, and Mr. Guarinido's pictures are wonderfully done. I feel a personal connection to Blacksad and his search for Natalia Wilford's killer, but mostly to Blacksad himself. When I showed it to my aunt, she said he looked like Stacy Keach. Thing is, I don't know who that is.
That aside, this is a wonderful book, and I heartily recommend it!!