Blue Angel

Michael Sokal, Author Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing $8.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-56163-030-1
Canardo, the hard-drinking, chain-smoking private-eye duck featured in Sokal's earlier Shaggy Dog Story , returns in this new detective tale. Once again the French cartoonist's funny animals are anything but; instead, the grim narrative delivers an intentionally unconvincing dose of existential despair. In this case he paraphrases the German film classic Blue Angel, setting it in a low-life forest dive populated by animal riffraff. Lili, a foxy cabaret singer with a tuberculous cough and a drug habit, discovers that singing ``Lili Marleen'' can turn Bronx the bear, her simpleminded and usually gentle admirer, into a killer. When the smitten beast carries Lili off, Canardo reluctantly takes the job of bringing them back. Along the way we learn the secret of Bronx's background, which archly illuminates the meeting of the star-crossed couple. Departing radically from the conventions of the funny animal genre, Sokal's overly bleak narrative can be perversely engaging, but aside from his excellent drawings and Canardo's laughable, Columbo-like detachment, this story is inadequately fueled by an excess of melodramatic suffering, violence and heavy-handed portent. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
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