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Book Review < Back

Black & White vol. 1

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Taiyo Matsumoto
Publisher: Viz


Matsumoto's BLACK & WHITE completely flipped my fucking shit. I'm certain that there are more poetic, writer-ly ways to put it, but they all escape me right now as I look at Black, painted in green and blue and yellow on the cover of Volume One looking like a cross between a crazed Honger shitkicker and Mad Max orphan, a necklace of plastic bananas around his neck. This book. Flipped my. Fucking shit.

In the sprawling Japanese metropolis of Treasure Town as a Disney-esque corporate empire is slowly gentrifying the darkest of its corners, Black and White live like insane Lost Boys, twin cat-shamans of the city and yin to one another's yang. Black is all action and cruelty, violence and rage; his maybe-brother White is love and magic, wonder and... well, he's pretty violent, too. They hop from rooftop to rooftop and power-line to power-line like punk rock avatar superheroes of their chosen home, tights made of junk and capes of trash their uniforms, the abandoned cars they sleep in their secret headquarters. These two erstwhile boy-kings have, however, finally met their match as the cops, the crooks, and the Disney people decide it's their turn to run the show.

Well, they can try.

Matsumoto is a Japanese artist who trained in Europe; the result are comics with a mélange of heritage, similar to Paul Pope or Munoz, perhaps in its almost-collage sensibilities; Manga-style layouts and pacing merge with a decidedly European narrative and graphic style saturated in pure comics moments and pop culture. BLACK AND WHITE reads like unfettered comics joy, full of vigor and energy to spare off of every page and panel. Read it. Get your shit flipped.

-- Matt Fraction

Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.


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