Dark Horse Comics has unleashed quite a monster with this collection of work by Gustavo Duarte. But it’s not just monsters. It’s chickens, pigs, birds, a whole wacky and, quite enthralling, world.
Guatavo Duarte is a new talent with an old soul. As Sergio Aragonés makes clear in the introduction to this book, Duarte has hit the ground running in wordless comics. He is very much in the traditon of the greats, from Otto Soglow to Jim Woodring. Duarte’s comics are truly electric. There’s a live wire quality to them that is complimented by its clean refinement. While very smooth and polished, you get that sensation of a rapidly moving line.
It’s also clear that Duarte loves a good story. These are stories that, at first, seem simple but are marvelously complex. Much in the way that you can lose yourself in the silent movie artistry of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, you find that same kind of exquisite timing in these comics. Starting with “Có!” a story about a man on a farm destined to have a close encounter with space aliens, Duarte takes us on a dazzling joy ride involving various perplexed pigs and chickens. “Birds” is a hilarious back and forth between two birds who don’t know when its time to say goodbye. And “Monsters” just lets loose with Godzilla-like hysteria. All handled with masterful lunacy.