Page 45 Review by Stephen
At the ready, Meduz, he nears. I hear his pawsteps.
Oh, this is a beauty, but what a terrible beauty to behold! You have been warned.
The first-ever collaboration between master storytellers Jodorowsky & Moebius, it is reprinted now in crispest black and white rather than its original yolk-yellow, and whatever the aesthetic reasons behind the first format, it benefits enormously both from the detoxification and the superior modern printing process. Created in the late 1970s, it was given away free to loyal fans of Les Humanoides Associés then pirated like crazy. My first encounter was in 1990, just as I joined the comicbook industry, when Stephen Bissette incorporated it into the fourth volume of his blistering horror anthology, TABOO, accompanied by a cracking essay he wrote himself and a couple of interviews too.
That it appeared in a horror anthology should give you a clue to my caveat: this is isnt a cute little kitty comic. It is, instead, an eerily spacious and semi-silent narrative and I can almost hear each sparse sentence being delivered in a quiet, considered monotone. It is intense; the ancient, empty buildings of eastern origin rendered in all their crumbling detail, and told with what Bissette so aptly described as hypnotic, metronomic pacing.
On each left-hand page a boy stands with his back to us, silhouetted against the sky. He watches through a window and waits. To the right a single, razor-sharp shaft of light pierces the endless clouds that clog up the sky and block out the sun, like the sooty fall-out from a volcanic disaster. It falls onto the cracked paving of a lifeless street littered with rubble and cable and cogs. A black cat emerges, and steps into the circle. An eagle soars high above.
Truly this is the stuff of dreams (Moebius: Alejandro is a professional dreamer) but it suddenly explodes on a page of horrific black beauty that will sear itself into your brain with its curves, claws and jaws. This is so well composed, and gorgeously delineated. When you finally see the boy facing front, hes like a weather-worn statue, his arm muscles moulded with sort of contoured rendering youve since come to expect from Barry Windsor-Smith. As Moebius explained to Bissette, he was always a fan of Gustav Doré.
Its not a long read, I concede right now, and although way more affordable than Humanoids previous edition, the price is pretty steep. It is, however, an absolute classic for any connoisseur of comics, and its production values are impeccable with a matt black, green and cream cover and perfectly placed spot-varnish.