Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artwork: Martin Morazzo
Release Date: 19th October, 2016
Art has formed the basis of human evolution since the dawn of time. From the prehistoric cave paintings all the way up to the wonder that is the Sistine Chapel, these footnotes in the history chart our moral and cultural development and perhaps no work of art is quite as famous as the Mona Lisa. For centuries, people have pondered about her smile, the coy look in her eyes and argued about the essence of the painting. So when one day she decides to wink at her adoring public huddled around her at the Louvre, you can pretty guess the hysteria that ensues.
Enter Margot Breslin, the Director of the renowned Bureau of Artistic Integrity to investigate this phenomenon. Similar cases of art mysteriously changing have been reported, albeit none as high profile as this, and it is soon clear that Breslin needs the help of the greatest art detective in the world, Arthur Brut. The thing is, Arthur is quite mad. We’re talking “locked up in an institution” mad, and to get him and his sidekick Manny (an artist’s wooden doll) to help is going to take huge amount of trust from him and a massive leap of faith from her.
From the pen that brought us Judas: The Last Days, W. Maxwell Prince serves an offering of the surreal with this story. It’s written almost in a conversational style, which is easy to read and doesn’t detract from the panels telling the story. The two main leads remind me of Mulder and Scully in the early seasons of the X-files, which bodes incredibly well for the direction of the story.
The artwork in this comic is exceptional. Hot since I first read Hewligans’s Haircut has such artwork in a book caught my attention. The use of tone and shades in the panels is amazing and the subtle trick of bathing each location in a different light really brings the story to life. Martin Morazzo is expressing this tale as if it was on canvas itself and from the sterile tones of Arthur’s hospital to the warm reflective colours of the Louvre, it draws you in.
This book is a must read and while it might not be for everyone, its surreal story and manic characters make this an exciting read. In fact, don’t even think about it. Just buy the comic, get a comfy seat, strap yourself in, let reality go and enjoy the ride to the Sublime.
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The writer of this piece was: John Patterson
John Tweets from @jpeg37