Billy Fog in MUSE Magazine

November 12th, 2012 § 0 comments

We’re almost midway through the next month already, but in case you missed it, there’s still time to pick up last month’s MUSE — “The Magazine Life, the Universe, and Pie Throwing” — for the kid in your life (or in you). MUSE is the ages 10-and-up member of the venerable Carus periodical family that includes such childhood favorites as Cricket and Cicada. The October, zombie-themed issue of MUSE features a brief excerpt from Billy Fog, featuring Lea the Ghost:

I’ve been touting this graphic novel ever since I first translated it. It came out last January, and would make for a great Christmas gift, hint hint… I think of it as Edward Gorey meets Calvin & Hobbes. The death of Billy’s beloved pet cat Tarzan sends him on a quest to “find out the secret of death.” He’s convinced that if anyone knows, it must be Santa, since he’s been around so long, and writes him a letter demanding the secret for Christmas. There’s a nice balance of the gruesome and the cheery. Author Guillaume Bianco tells this story not only through traditional comics pages with panels and speech balloons, but regular excerpts from a Quibbler-type “Gazette of the Bizarre,” macabre Shel- Silverstein-type poems, and entries from Billy’s own imagined bestiary (which includes ghosts, boogeymen, monstrous insects, and even kid sisters). It’s a tremendous feat of world-building, not only graphically but verbally inventive -— Bianco’s knack for wicked ostentation and morbid understatement come through not only in his pictures but his words. Slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails —- these are all present, along with princesses that sprout from squmkins, super-hoodies, vegetarian vampiresses, murderous moppets, Maupassant, Ouija boards, and seamstresses who put their eyes out with scissors.

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