Review by Ian Keogh
The title of this collection is rather a misnomer, if understandable from a marketing viewpoint. With Eduardo Risso’s work on the excellent 100 Bullets introducing him to an English speaking audience, there was interest in the back catalogue of strips he’d illustrated for European and South American publishers. Most of those that have been translated into English, though, are written by fellow Argentinian Carlos Trillo.
Trillo is largely unknown to an English speaking audience, although a fair amount of his work has been published by the likes of Catalan, NBM and SAF, but in Europe and South America he was a lauded and award winning writer.
His sure touch with disturbing material is evident from the opening pages here, depicting an overweight young boy boxing with his mother and her abusive methods of toughening him up. It reveals both that this isn’t your usual horror collection, and what we already knew, that Risso is masterful artist. He characterises the boy with a gormless expression, creates a monstrous mother, slathers the black ink all over the page to contrast the white separated by his delicate lines, and drapes the world in shadow. In short, he starts as he’ll continue and for those already familiar with his art, it’s business as usual.
Trillo and Risso’s eleven tales span the gamut of horror, referencing the supernatural, the psychopaths of the world, the real life bogeymen we all fear, and terrible transformations. Some familiar horror characters such as the Mummy, Frankenstein’s monster and the Invisible Man are given a modern day twist, and there’s also a bleak sense of humour at work. Terrible Joe has his secret, the twists are often funny, and Trillo’s first person narrative captions drip with self-awareness. It’s the sort of material that filled the pages of Warren titles Creepy and Eerie from the 1960s to the 1980s, and better than all but the golden periods of those titles.
Those who like well produced horror shockers can’t go wrong with this, and it’s worth also looking out for further horror material by the same creators published as Video Noire.