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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Alvar Mayor: Death and Silver (Graphic Novel)

By Carlos Trillo & Enrique Breccia

Publisher: Four Winds Publishing (March 1989)

Softcover 56 pages 

Finished 1/10/18

Amazon Listing 

          This is a classic strip, originally appearing in the comic magazine Skorpio in 53 episodes from 1977 - 1983. Despite being written and drawn by the two masters Trillo and Breccia, this series has only once ever been translated and published in English. Why? I can’t say. It’s a pity, because I would certainly like to read more of Alvar Mayor.
          The titular character is a former conquistador that has turned his back on his heritage and embraced the ways of various Indian tribes. That part I read in the forward by Chuck Dixon, and good thing he wrote it, otherwise I wouldn’t have known. It certainly doesn’t appear in any of the stories presented. In fact, Alvar Mayor is more of a cypher or framing device than a character. He has no development, no real personality other than he doesn’t speak much and stares gloomily a lot.
          That’s not to say these aren’t good stories. It’s simply that most of them didn’t really need the titular character in them to be interesting. There are four stories here, all taking place somewhere in the wilds of South America. The specific location isn’t specified, but it really isn’t needed. Here Alvar Mayor encounters a curse and cure, a death by dreams, a gamblers last stand, and the defense of a town from bandits. All done in a beautiful and brooding black drenched design that is distinct and appealing.

          I could find very little on the publisher 4Winds Publishing (that’s not a typo, their company put no space between the 4 and Winds). They came and went in two years. Apparently the company's aim was to translate and publish European and South American comics in the United States. Not an original idea, Epic and a few others had been doing it more or less successfully for years, but there was still a lot of room for scope in the proposition. They produced a total of eight graphic novels, thin volumes like this one, before folding. Their finances must have been shaky as hell to fold so fast. Still if this volume is anything to go by their taste in art was excellent.

           For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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