Blacksad 1 (No. 1)

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9780743479912: Blacksad 1 (No. 1)

Meet John Blacksad, a cat in the shadows. Imagine New York as a city of criminal rats, jazz-playing gorillas and rhino thugs. Enter a mystery where the suspects have tails. Find out why comics' biggest names are wild about one of the freshest graphic novels in years. Enter the world of Blacksad. Natalia Wilford is a famous actress. To the world, she had everything anybody could wat: beauty, fame, glamour and lovers who would do anything for her. When she is found murdered in her home, it touches the man who had not seen her since their bitter breakup many years ago...private eye John Blacksad. He vows to find Natalia's murderer. When the police are told to call off their investigation of the crime, Blacksad charges forward alone, risking his license, his reputation and even his life!

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From Publishers Weekly:

The second volume of Canales and Guarnido's hybrid of hard-boiled detective and anthropomorphic-animal comics is a visual masterpiece. The entire work is constructed around a single joke, but a brilliant one. PI John Blacksad gets involved with an investigation having to do with a white power group, the Arctics, that's been murdering blacks; a kidnapping; and a dark secret of illegitimate birth. It's a standard-issue detective-novel plot, if nicely handled—but the twist is that all the characters are animal-headed humanoids, and the tension revolves around not the color of their skin, but the color of their fur. Blacksad is a black cat; a racist politician is a polar bear; there's a black power gang led by a black horse; etc. (The climactic plot twist involves a white character turning out to have a small patch of black fur.) Like any good gumshoe tale, the story's crammed with sex and violent gunplay, and Guarnido manages to set even his wackiest-looking characters within gritty, realistic backgrounds and lighting. His art is exquisitely sensitive to the nuances of facial expression and body language—not an easy feat with characters who are drawn as weasels, crows or mice. The story's point, though, is the vicious absurdity of racism, and Canales and Guarnido express it by making their tone absolutely straight.
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