Denaldo Reynoso (The Big Hoax)

Created by Carlos Trillo
(1943-2011)
and
Roberto Mandrafina
Pseudonyms include Cacho
(1945–)

La grande arnaque (The Big Hoax) was an award-winning 1998 Spanish-language graphic novel splattered with blood, sex, a hefty dose of magical realism, and more than a few pointed digressions into South American history and politics.

Not that any of that concerns DENALDO REYNOSO, the detective protagonist–he’s just trying to survive.  It’s the 1940s, and in the corrupt-as-fuck South American nation of the “Banana Republic of La Colonia” (there’s nothing subtle going on here), Denaldo is that rarest of birds: an honest cop. Which was enough to cost him his job. And most of his friends and employment prospects.

Which is why, with his savings slowly dissolving, he agrees to help out a beautiful young woman, the one and only Melinda Centurion, known throughout the staunchly Catholic nation, as “The Intact Virgin,” who’s rumoured to have magical healing powers, only to come face to face with a relentless hitman known as “The Iguana,” a man of “monstrous cruelty, debased appetites, and nearly super-human abilities,” who, thanks to Domingo Mandrfaina’s twitchy, impressionistic artwork, may actually be half-lizard.

Uh-huh.

For those of you who like their villains on the scaly side and their noir doused with a feverish swirl of fantasy, “The Iguana” returned in a second graphic novel in the so-called “La Grande Arnaque Series,” with the catchy title of…Iguana.

The Big Hoax won the 1999 Prize for Scenario at the Angoulême International Comics Festival.

Born in Buenos Aires, Carlos Trillo began a prolific career as writer at the age of 20, penning his first story for Patoruzú magazine, and over a long career apparently worked with everyone, including Horacio Altuna, Carlos Meglia, Jordi Bernet. and Ernesto García Seijas. He participated in the creation of several comics, including his most notable work, Cybersix and Clara de noche and Cicca Dum Dum, and The Spaghetti Brothers. He also wrote the Chicanos series, about a feisty Mexican who immigrates to New York to become a private eye.

Artist and fellow Argentinian Domingo Roberto Mandrafina also worked for Patoruzú, and went on to illustrate numerous other series, including Samos, Savarese, Lady Shadow and El condenado. His other works include Dragger (a graphic novel also written by Carlos Trillo), Cosecha verde and Race of Scorpions for Dark Horse.

UNDER OATH

  • “Carlos Trillo provides a story rich in depressing cultural associations satirising the worst of South American regimes in the 1940s… As a noir thriller in pastiche tragic play form The Big Hoax showcases a vivid imagination and a great artist, and the novelty of the telling entertains. So very satisfactory indeed.”
    — Frank Plowright (2017, Slings & Arrows)

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • THE BIG HOAX Buy this book
    (2001, Venure/Strip Art Features)
    Black & White
    Written by Carlos Trillo
    Art by Roberto Mandrafina
    The first English-language edition
  • IGUANA Buy this book
    (2002, Dark Horse Comics)
    Written by Carlos Trillo
    Art by Roberto Mandrafina
  • THE BIG HOAX Buy this book | ComiXology/Kindle it!
    (2020, Titan Comics/Hard Case Crime)
    Full colour
    Written by Carlos Trillo
    Art by Roberto Mandrafina
    The first English-language edition in full colour
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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