Hallowe’en Countdown IV, Day 23

« A detective sees death in all the various forms at least five times a week. » — Salvatore Albert Lombino, aka Ed McBain, aka Evan Hunter

Spanning nearly a full century since yesterday’s instalment, we now move ahead to a recent work from my favourite European bédéiste of the past quarter-century, David Beauchard, better known as David B. (b. 1959).

Among the traits I most admire in Monsieur Beauchard are his artistic integrity and his explorative drive. To wit, here he evokes the grimy spirit of late 19th century feuilleton serials, providing a narrative consisting of illustrated chapter headings… devoid of the main text. The reader is left to fill in the narrative gaps, enlisted in a bold compact with the artist and required to draw upon his own imagination.

A few choice excerpts (I left out the bits with tentacles… it’s not my department, after all!):

Le mort détective was issued just last year (yes, roughly an eternity ago) by rightly-celebrated French publisher L’Association.
So it begins… with the title page, naturally.
1 – The mysterious messenger: “The Flayers have returned…‘ chanted the strange apparition”.
2 – The skinned dwarf: “But who needs a dwarf’s skin… and to what ignoble purpose?“, panted the Dead Detective…
6 – The dwarf-skin coat: “The Great Old Man is a priest of the Yellow Dwarf God‘, murmured the Dead Detective to the Girl of a Thousand Daggers…”
10- The macabre post: “The Bad Postman distributes mysterious mailings.”
11- The word from the Hereafter: “The severed head exhaled a terrifying prophecy.”
22- The mass grave: “The Girl of a Thousand Daggers has sent a bouquet.“, he said in a dying voice.
41 – “The altar of fear: “Let’s flee!‘, exclaimed the Girl of a Thousand Daggers.”
68 – “The Devouring Love: Explanations were brutal between the Girl and the Dead One.”
69 – “The Flash War: … ‘Birnam Forest walks towards Dunsinane‘, recited the Dead Detective.”

-RG

7 thoughts on “Hallowe’en Countdown IV, Day 23

    • gasp65 October 23, 2020 / 18:54

      David B. is such a visionary, with incredible integrity and intelligence. I grab everything I can find by him, solo or with collaborators. His best-known work is “L’ascension du Haut mal” (issued in English as “Epileptic”), but that’s probably my least favourite of his work. It’s still pretty mind-blowing, for all that!

      Liked by 1 person

      • tref October 23, 2020 / 19:08

        We have a bookstore right down the block from us called Wacko, and I am certain if anyplace in L.A. would carry David’s work it would be them. So, I’ll check it out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gasp65 October 23, 2020 / 23:40

        Wow, I just looked them up, and it looks like a fantastic place. I agree, if anyone’s going to carry David B. books in the States, they rank pretty highly among the likely suspects. I can’t imagine coming out of that place empty-handed!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. tref October 23, 2020 / 18:41

    I’ll re-post this on twitter (is Who’s out there on twitter?)

    Like

    • gasp65 October 23, 2020 / 18:49

      Thank you, George! Nope, we’re just here on WordPress, no official social media presence. And thanks for spreading the word!

      Liked by 1 person

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