Feb 23, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 729: The Puma Blues #22, 1989


This is a very cool comic. There's a definite impetus of resistance going on in it, very much focussed on the environment, and given that it's a 27 year old comic, some of the ideas and subjects brought up in it are really very contemporary. The back matter includes political cartoons about the denial of climate change, zine ads about resistant action, and a call from Amnesty International to abolish a death penalty that is used primarily against the most vulnerable members of society. It is an unabashedly, vocally resistant comic.

And as if that wasn't awesome enough, it features stunning (and I mean absolutely stunning) artwork by Michael Zulli. His nature scenes are on par with Masashi Tanaka's amazing work on Gon, though skewing more to the ruggedness of the American landscape, rather than Tanaka's often lush jungle and forest settings. Let's be honest: anything Michael Zulli does is going to be pretty breathtaking, but I think this might be one of my favourite things I've seen by him.

And still there's more: The Puma Blues, this issue at least, falls into a very small category of comics I've read, one that includes such strange works as Martin Vaugh-James' The Cage and Rick Veitch's Can't Get No, comics that move fairly explicitly into the realm of the poetic rather than the prosaic. There's a link between words and images, but it often veers off into the metaphoric rather than the literal, forcing a much closer and slower reading experience. Such works can be frustrating (I have, indeed, heard much hatred for The Cage), but ultimately, if one gives them the time to work both independently and concurrently on the verbal and visual, one is gifted with a rather fantastic experience of metaphoric language through the lens of comics.

I was going to add The Puma Blues to my list of comics to track down until I found out that the series was never completed as periodicals. However, Dover Publishing, that champion of cheap editions of great works of literature, has a graphic novel of the series that includes a new 40-page chapter that finishes the series. I think that'll have to go on my list of stuff to get.

Tomorrow is the end of Year 2. Time flies when you're....well, this year hasn't actually been very fun, but at least I've gotten to read a comic every single day.

To be continued.

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