cover image The Ladies-in-Waiting

The Ladies-in-Waiting

Santiago Garcia and Javier Olivares, trans. from the Spanish by Erica Mena. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-68396-012-6

Art is a pathway, a passion, and perdition in this inventive work (originally published in Spain), which examines Diego Velázquez’s famed painting Las Meninas. This is a kaleidoscope of a book that leaps back and forth through time, embracing multiple points of view and playing cheekily with comics history itself—numerous chapters flirt with pulp fiction–style iconography. Velazquez himself appears, naturally, and so do Michel Foucault, Pablo Picasso, Raphael, and more—drawn together, across time and space, by the pursuit of art. In this, the book mirrors Las Meninas itself, famous for its interplay between viewer and subject, reality and unreality. The result is a fascinating jigsaw puzzle of a narrative. The book’s rough, woodcutesque shadows slash through muted shades of mustard, cerulean, and sage; its wordplay jumps from frivolous to somber within a single page. It’s a joyful investigation of art and all that it means—and, simultaneously, a luminous work of art in its own right. (Aug.)