cover image Ghostwriter


Rayco Pulido, trans. from the Spanish by Andrea Rosenberg. Fantagraphics, $19.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-68396-318-9

Spanish cartoonist Pulido makes his English-language debut with this arresting, chiaroscuro-steeped psychological thriller. In 1943 Barcelona, the apparently heavily pregnant Laia works as the ghost writer for “Dr. Bosch,” the fabricated host of a popular radio advice program. Her due date nearing, Laia hires Mauricio, a sleuth who cracks cases with hypnosis, to track down her missing husband. While investigating, Mauricio uncovers discrepancies in Laia’s tale of a disappeared devoted spouse, along with suspicious glimpses of secrets Laia’s keeping, such as scratches criss-crossed on her upper thighs. A cache of dynamite is eventually revealed, along with Laia’s unraveling mental health. This intense but comedic noir’s quirky proceedings are granted an unsettling edge by Pulido’s winsome, minimalist black-and-white art. Pulido has a cinematic eye for graphic storytelling, spinning a web of deceit and betrayal embedded in critique of patriarchal attitudes about a woman’s role in marriage. The enigmatic tale is recommended for genre readers seeking a classier flavor of pulp fiction than the standard femme fatale and shoot-’em-up fare. (Aug.)