Sunday, November 4, 2012
No. It's not true, that I only like old comics. Because if it were, I would never have picked up Sergio Ponchione's Grotesque (2008) Still, the reason it caught my attention probably had much to do with the quaint old-fashioned style of the artwork, looking something like a 1920's German expressionist film drawn in the manner of Popeye.
So what's it all about?... well, after purchasing Grotesque I discovered it to be volume two (of four) with volume one with an almost completely different set of characters and setting...
I still have to pick up volume three and four for the conclusion of the tale, but this is where we come in: On a stormy night we follow a grey bearded old man on his journey across rain drenched plains to Cryptic City, controlled by the evil Barons of the von Cryptic family. The source of their power is a mystic pact made generations back, enabling them to make a very nice living selling emotions to the towns inhabitants.
As our elderly hero with the three foot beard, umbrella and rimmed glasses start sniffing around Cryptic City, horrible secrets begin to unwind. Can he save the town from the evil barons? will the nun selling holy slippers slip him some useful information? is detective Doppiofaccio a useful ally or a bumbling buffoon... and what's hiding out in room 414 at the mysterious Cryptic Hotel?...
I will not disclose more here... but leave further investigations to readers who wish to be challenged by a complex, multi layered story, whimsical humour, and the distinctive, beautifully graphic drawing style of Mr. Ponchione.
To be continued.