Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hailing The Cabbie

In June, Fantagraphics Books will be issuing a new printing of The Cabbie, by Marti Riera. I've owned the 1987 Catalan printing of this fascinating, perverse delight for some time now, and it is truly one of Eurocomics' hidden treasures.

Originally serialized in 1979, The Cabbie tells a pitch-dark tale of a solitary man, secure in his moral superiority in a depraved world of sinners, who nonetheless is growing impatient waiting for his inheritance. When he finds out where the money is stored, things get much more complicated. He also gets swept up in a feud with a vengeful family of petty criminals, and Noir ensues.

Obviously, the best part is that throughout this bullet-riddled yarn, Riera employs a pitch-perfect recreation of Chester Gould's Dick Tracy to tell the story. I've read many a Tracy story, and Riera mimics the artwork, style, and pacing of Gould brilliantly.

More than an homage, this was Marti's critique of Gould's worldview, as presented in Tracy. There are no heroes in this book, and no true villains either. Just a lot of desperate, greedy people fighting over money. I'm not smart enough to have figured this out on my own. Art Spiegelman contributes an outstanding Introduction to this volume that explains Reira's background, influences, and naturally, the generational and cultural differences that made The Cabbie an ironic rebuttal to Dick Tracy's somewhat simplistic morality plays.

The Cabbie is full of violence and nudity and troubling things. It probably won't be at your shop unless you ask for it. It can be ordered on page #282 of the June 2011 Previews, if you're so inclined.


1 comment:

HEH said...

Ah, The Cabbie! I too own the Catalan edition.
I should get that out and reread it again.
I miss the days long ago, scooping up Catalan books for cheap in used bookstores or clearance bins.