Created by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido
I hate to break it to you, guys, but the dapper, world-weary hard-boiled private eye hero of this award-winning hard-boiled comic series really is a cat.
And not as in “cool.”
As in “meow-meow.”
I’m not kidding. A frickin’ cat!
But for those of you willing to take a walk on the imaginative side, the anthropomorphic dogs, cats, hyenas and apes that populate this world are more than up to the task.
This ain’t no Disney, this ain’t no Hanna-Barbera, this ain’t no foolin’ around…
Played totally straight, this is the real deal when it comes to two-fisted private eye action, hard and bittersweet, featuring some of the most richly rendered, fucking gorgeous art of any graphic novel I’ve seen.
Set in a gritty, big-shouldered world of early fifties America, WWII vet turned gumshoe John Blacksad works a variety of cases, ranging from child abductions to spy games and, of course, that old standby — murder. Hr comes face to face with post-war racial tensions, the Communist witch hunt and Cold War paranoia, not to mention switchblade-flashing lizards, scholarly owls, rat snitches, weasel reporters and professional heavyweights who just happen to be gorillas. Real gorillas.
If you can imagine Bogart and Bacall in The Big Sleep as a couple of cats you’re almost there.
This internationally acclaimed series has won nearly a dozen prestigious awards, and has even inspired a video game from Pendulo Studios. Written by Spaniards Juan Diaz Canales, and illustrated by Juanjo Guarnido, who supplies the beautiful watercolor-rendered artwork, Blacksad first appeared in French in 2000 and sold over 200,000 copies in France alone The first three Blacksad stories were collected, translated and published by Dark Horse in 2010 for the first time, Since then, several collections have followed, the latest being Blacksad: The Complete Stories (2020.
- Quelque part entre les ombres (2000, aka “Somewhere Within the Shadows”)
- Arctic-Nation (2003)
- Âme Rouge (2005, aka “Red Soul”)
- L’Enfer, Le silence (2010; aka “A Silent Hell”)
- Amarillo (2012)
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COLLECTIONS (TRANSLATED)
- Blacksad (2010) | Buy this book
Collects the first three Blacksad stories.
- Blacksad: A Silent Hell (2012) | .Buy this book
- Blacksad: Amarillo (2014) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Blacksad: The Complete Stories (2020) | Buy this book | Kindle it/ComiXology it!
Five stories, including new material never published in English.
ALSO OF INTEREST
- Blacksad: The Sketch Files (2005; by Juanjo Guarnido) | Buy this book
Guarnido discusses and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the series, including never-before-seen production sketches and concept art.
- BLACKSAD: UNDER THE SKIN | Buy this book
(2019, Pedulo Studios/Maximum Games)
An all-new case, set in the comic book series’ seedy, retro-noir world of 1950s New York City. Blacksad’s called in when the owner of a boxing club is murdered, and his star boxer disappears just before a big fight. the games a beauty to behold, perfectly recreating the comics with jaw-dropping graphics (the splash at the top is a screen grab from the game). Gameplay features investigations, puzzles, quick time events and multiple-choice dialog, while jazz warbles in the background, and danger beckons at every turn. And for collectors, the Limited Edition includes four art prints, 3D Lenticular artwork, and a limited edition sleeve.
Available for Playstation Four, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
- Juan Miguel Martín
BLACKSAD: UNDER THE SKIN | Buy this album
Of course, wherever the videogames go, the game junkies will follow. This digital download of the original game soundtrack contains all the vaguely noirish instrumental squonks and squeaks you’d expect, with titles like “New Day New Case,” “Assembling the Puzzle” and, uh, “Clueless.” For the faithful only.
- “Oh mama, I got dem cosmic anthropomorphic P.I. blues again…
Going to the dogs, the cats and worse.