The Cabbie, Vol. 1

Marti. Fantagraphics, $19.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-60699-450-4
Wearing its stylistic debt to Chester Gould’s classic Dick Tracy strips on its sleeve, this Spanish-produced series (which was originally printed in the ’80s) revels in a stark and sleazy noir aesthetic that drags the reader on a vicious trip through the scabrous underbelly of “the Big City.” After thwarting a would-be robber, the titular character brings him to the police and subsequently finds himself the focus of a revenge plot involving the criminal’s ultra-vile family, a scheme that also finds him robbed of his hidden inheritance. As the cabbie pursues his money, he’s caught up in a web of inbred shanty-dwellers, child prostitution, direct communiqués from disembodied Catholic saints, glue huffing, and even a reunion with his estranged prostitute sister. There’s a lot going on, too much to be fully resolved in a single volume, so the subsequent installments bear watching. An intriguing throwback to the days of heroes with worldviews defined in terms as rigidly black and white as the panels they battled their way through, this visual and thematic love letter to (and simultaneous critique of) Gould’s tropes is highly recommended for grownups with a taste for refreshingly lurid pulp fiction. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/26/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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