Black Mask Studios
A pretty cool thing happened when I stopped by my local comic shop last week. One of the managers had just gotten back from New York Comic Con, and having never gone myself, I made a point to ask her how she enjoyed it. Of course, the answer was, “IT WAS AMAZING OMG” and “PANELS PANELS PANELS” and “COMIC CREATORS AND INDUSTRY BUZZ.”
I must admit my jealousy was reaching an all-time high at this point, but I continued to listen closely. We talked about the upcoming Marvel relaunch, cool stuff happening at Dark Horse, and then she reached behind the counter and pulled out a signed book by a comic book publisher I hadn’t heard of before. A publisher going by a name that I knew very well: BLACK MASK.
The book was called CLANDESTINO.
With my “I’m intrigued” face in full effect, I paged through the book. Clearly a labor of love by writer/artist Amancay Nahuelpan, CLADESTINO is the story of the war-torn Republic of Tairona, and the rebel group Koyam who are trying to take their nation back. It’s a beautiful, brutal book that that is a marvel of storytelling. Opening with a ballet of a gunfight in a desert gas station that leads straight into a double page title card, CLANDESTINO has wonderful cinematic feel that absolutely works in its favor.
Amancay Nahuelpan uses a variety of artistic styles to maximum effect. The opening gunfight has a hyper-kinetic vibe, full of motion and color. When the story flashes back to the military coup, Nahuelpan uses a ghostly black and white style that evokes a photo’s negative image. Very cool, very effective stuff. As the story continues to catch the reader up on the events of the coup, Nahhuelpan uses a series of full page, torn and bloody newspapers to provide backstory, as well as house-ads that promote the book and the rebel Koyam; all done to perfect effect.
CLANDESTINO is a beautiful book that tells a brutal story. And if CLANDESTINO is an indicator of the quality of books that Black Mask will be putting out? Then this is a publisher to watch.