Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Terrible Elizabeth Dumn Against the Devils in Suits

by Arabson, adapted by James Robinson

One of my favourite things about Image Comics is the way in which they will seemingly randomly put out a comic with little fanfare that has the ability to completely brighten one's day.  I'm not familiar with the work of the Brazilian cartoonist Arabson (except to notice that his name is starting to pop up on the variant cover circuit), but the Paul Pope-esque cover of this oversized one-shot magazine formatted comic, The Terrible Elizabeth Dumn Against The Devils In Suits, really jumped out at me on the stands this week, and when I saw it was only $6, I had to have it.

Arabson's story begins in a smallish city in Brazil, when an old man knocks on the door, very late at night, of a person he hasn't seen in over twenty years.  We quickly learn that the younger man owes the older a debt, and that the older man is the devil.  The price, made on a promise decades before, is the man's first-born son, but he quickly makes the offer of his daughter instead, claiming that she is so wild, even the devil couldn't tame her.

Elizabeth, we then learn, is in a boarding school, where she has been a near-constant source of trouble for the beefy nuns who run the place.  Warned by her mother, Elizabeth hits the road, trying to stay away from her father's debt, and ends up travelling with a musician who once made a similar deal.  Elizabeth, being who she is though, is not so much the type to run from her problems as face them head-on.

Arabson's art is terrific in this book.  He keeps the Paul Pope influence throughout, but there are also elements of Frank Quitely and Rafael Grampá here too.  I like how his characters show emotion, and found the backgrounds often worth studying.  This is a very solid book, and I'd like to see Image publishing more foreign comics like this, in this exact, affordable, format.  Highly recommended.