COLVILLE STEVEN GILBERT Coconino (Italy) | November 2017 | 172 pages | B&W
Foreign sales: France (Revival) Even the bleakest horror and crime comics are seldom so black.—The Comics Journal Brain-shots, garroting, ejaculation, flesh tearing—all have a visceral impact on page.—The Comics Journal For the first time available for translation, a classic of underground comics—a book equal part legendary and cursed, a perverse mix of Alice Munro, David Lynch, and snuff porn—returns after fifteen years of silence in a new, expanded edition with an extra hundred pages of shocking material inspired by the true story of Paul Bernardo: Cananda’s most infamous serial killer. In 1997, a clerk of a comic book shop in suburban Ontario published a short graphic novel, 64 pages in total. Hearsay tells that he did it entirely on his own, photocopying the few circulating copies with a regular printer, slowly, one after the other. He would give them out to conferences and conventions; and the reception was good, the remarks encouraging. Despite this, the clerk stopped making comics altogether. Who knows, perhaps his silence, which lasted more than fifteen years, was helpful in the long run . . . Soon the short graphic novel turned into an object of cult, a phantasmatic work which everybody heard about, but only an handful had the privilege to read firsthand. Influential critics like Frank Santoro would talk about it, lamenting the fact that they were so stupid to give their copy away, and that its talented author had decided to stop drawing and vanished instead. Now that graphic novel is finally available once again. What’s more, it comes with two additional chapters which showcase a psychopath and rapist inspired by the Canadian most infamous yuppie-turned-serial killer Paul Bernardo and plunge ever deeper in the rot and scum that lurks behind the veneer of too many respectable suburbs. Reminiscent of such staples of American thriller as Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, and Fargo, Colville is a classic of the genre. It is exceptionally perverse and yet so masterfully is it told that you cannot put it down. Page after page it gets more and more depraved, the horror and violence relentlessly escalating. And yet, you cannot stop reading. It’s like a vortex, it sucks you in no matter what.