by Brandy Grote, contributing writer
Comic books have not always been aimed at children. From their earliest history, both in America and the rest of the world, comic strips have been used to tweak politicians and beliefs, poking fun, or shining a light in dark corners. In Europe, comics in this bande-dessinee (literally: “drawn strip”) style have been gathered and published in magazines such as Revista Skorpio, Eura, and 2000AD.
One of the stories published in Revista Skorpio in the 1980′s was the serialized “Krantz”. This story – by the prolific Argentinian artists Jorge Claudio Morhain and Horacio Lalia – is about Ross Krantz, a time traveler from the future. He travels several centuries into the past to prevent a slaughter of Protestants in 16th century France, which was supposed to have prevented Hitler from coming into power in our own time. Of course, time travel rarely goes without a hitch, and Krantz is left confused and alone in the primitive past. He is aided by one young fellow who he recognizes and renames as Nostradamus! He meets and works with – or against – other notable names in history in his attempts to complete his mission and return to his own time. He learns many amazing things about himself and the universe as he does this.
The story involves time travel, but it doesn’t delve into the mechanics of “how” at first, even though we do learn the “why” of Ross’s journey. This doesn’t lessen the strong story arc: quite the opposite, in fact. The story is broken into several chapters, each following one historical person or event. The cape-wearing Krantz is involved deeply in some cases, while at other times, he seems only an observer. As the story arc evolves, so does Krantz, as he learns how to manipulate the information he discovers to complete his mission to the best of his ability.
The story contains aspects of mysticism and actual historical events, including witch hunts and torture, which may explain why the story was banned by the Catholic Church. Although a few first names were changed in the story, nearly all the characters truly existed and can be researched online.
The artwork in this book is amazing. Horacio Lalia is a master of inks, with stark, dark backgrounds setting off delicate, expressive faces. His eye for detail includes clothing, accessories, and items used across time, location, and class lines. He has created artwork for many adaptations of beloved horror stories, and his work is well known in Europe as well as South America.
Jorge Claudio Morhain has written nearly 6,000 comic strips alone over his amazing career, in addition to his children’s stories, political cartoons, and television and movie screenplays. In the 1970′s, he wrote and drew cartoons for Editorial Columbo, an Argentinian publishing dynasty that folded during the political unrest of the early 1980′s. He was also Undersecretary of Culture, Education and Tourism for Canuelas, Buenos Aires in 1993, and Director of Museums and Archives there from 1997 until 2000.
This graphic novel is being brought to America through a Kickstarter campaign by Bronco Ink Publishing, LLC. Off Registration magazine (a Bronco Ink publication) Editor-in-Chief Scott O. Brown says, “We believe in and have supported Horacio’s work whenever possible over the last decade. And Jorge is a powerhouse writer deserving a wider audience. Their ‘Krantz’ is a great comics collection for science fiction fans, history buffs, and lovers of classic bande-dessinee style comics. If ‘Game Of Thrones’ or ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ strike your fancy, then ‘Krantz’ is right up your alley.”
The Kickstarter runs through March 12, 2014. While pledge levels begin at $5, pledging $10 will secure you a digital copy of this historic book, and $25 will guarantee you a softcover copy as well as the digital version if the project is fully funded.
Pledge levels run up to $350 (The “Bleeding Cool”). This level only has 2 spots, one has been taken at the time of this writing! The perks of this level include having Horacio Lalia pencil artwork for your own 4-page story, which will also be colorized by Off Registration. They will then letter it and print YOUR STORY in a future edition of Off Registration magazine! You will receive the softcover and digital editions of “Krantz”, as well as “Monstrology”, which is an anthology of monsters written by Scott O. Brown and others.
The $250 level, “Project Cronus”, also has 2 remaining slots at this time. It also includes having your own story inked by Lalia and printed in Off Registration along with the softcover and digital editions of “Krantz”.
This work is magnificent for its place in the history of comics, as well as a great example of the work of these two artists who are practically unknown in the States. Making this translation available may help change that.
For adult comic book aficionados and collectors, this is a highly desirable translation. For comic, horror, suspense, history, and even religion buffs, it is an intriguing story.
This story is considered adult, for mature readers only, both in subject matter and artwork.