Dead In Desemboque.
If Gilbert Shelton and Jose Guadalupe Posada conceived a baby while the Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil" was playing in the background, that baby would be Eddy Arellano's Dead In Desemboque.
I so badly want the above paragraph to be the entire review. In the four years I've been book blogging, the above description is the most accurate I've ever done, and probably will ever do.
Eddy, a drifter who literally has death in his eyes - they're drawn as skulls - and his dogs amble through the desert, looking for love and trouble and finding both. Done in the style of a Mexican pulp comic, Dead in Desemboque is told in three episodes, each drawn by a different artist.
Episode 1, "Dogs Aren't For Trading," Eddy meets the powerful Lupe, who seduces him in order to steal his dog, Argonaut, away. This part, illustrated by William Schaff, is the Posada part. Episode 2, "The Road to Desemboque," is the Gilbert Shelton part, drawn by Richard Schuler. After fleeing from Lupe, Eddy travels to be with his ladyfriend Juanita, who plays the part of the girl who is always home to warmly greet you after you've been out whoring all over the place with women who want to turn your dog into a gladiator, is never busy, and never actually has a boyfriend at the moment and can't really see you right now, but thanks for stopping by. He somehow pisses everybody off, not sure how because a lot of it is in Spanish and I studied French, but he has to flee again to Episode 3, "Dead In Desemboque." This part is drawn by Alec Thibodeau, and I would love to tell you that it's drawn like a Grateful Dead cover, but I've ridden the metaphor as far as it will go and it's fallen apart now. After careful consideration, I have to say it actually looks more like Lynda Barry has taken over.
By this time, our hero's options are narrowing, and he turns to some clever old women to help bail him out.
Dead In Desemboque is published by my favorite publishing house, Soft Skull, which never puts out crap. The artwork, particularly William Schiff's, is gorgeously creepy and would look nice either hanging on a wall or tattooed onto your back, and the storyline ambles along nicely enough to keep you occupied for a little while. Arellano captures the spirit of Mexican comics quite well, and the blends aimless lust and dusty death under the Arizona sky together in a gothy, inky swirl.
Dead In Desemboque
by Eddy Arellano
Illustrated by William Schaff, Richard Schuler, and Alec Thibodeau
June 2008 by Soft Skull Press
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Dead In Desemboque.