Different Ugliness, Different Madness

Marc Malés, trans. by Jonathan Tanner. Humanoids, $19.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-59465-126-7
A radio star of the 1930s returns to the airwaves after a yearlong absence. A dying woman tells her life story to her daughter on a deserted railway platform. These dual stories spin together in Malés’ moody, mysterious tale, spotlighting the enigmatic nature of identity and personal reflection. In a flashback, Helen, a woman with a possibly-imaginary twin, travels Depression-era roads in search of her own identity, a journey that eventually uncovers the radio star’s secret. The combination of detailed thin lines and heavy brushwork for shadows and tones gives the b&w artwork a rural noir feel. Malés has an expert eye for using light and dark to control focus in each panel, and the artwork is reminiscent of Alex Toth and José Muñoz. The twins, triplets, and lookalikes Helen encounters underscore the theme of identity, and it’s a story that rewards careful rereading. This English-language debut by a prominent French comics artist inspires hope that more of his work will be translated. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Genre: Comics
Paperback - 126 pages - 978-1-4012-0644-4
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