Friday, April 05, 2013

Eye of Horus by Alabaster

Oh to be an ibis in the grass in Alabaster’s Egypto-trip through dysfunctional family dynamics! A primer of sorts on the god Horus’ origins and exploits, this comic follows the titular god as a child. He hangs with his companion cat, Bast, heals hurt birds, dodges his murderous uncle and learns the secrets of his lineage.

Look at that wheat!
Originally printed in two parts for the Portuguese magazine Lodaçal Comics, this version is a limited edition of 75. The lovely letterpress cover shows Alabaster’s usual attention to craft; I especially like the triumphant ibis on the reverse. The black and white, copier paper, interior mixes traditional comics panel structure with full-page tableaux that echo the frozen depictions of ancient Egyptian gods but somehow keep them fluid. It is in these panels that you can best see Alabaster’s commitment to the decorative detail.

 I was a bit surprised that she didn’t wring more bitter humor out of the terror and misery of young Horus, as the suffering of child-like characters is central to her Talamaroo stories. (See my review of those here.) We don’t get to know too much about the boy, except that he is a nice, sheltered kid with sweet bangs and big battles ahead of him. The meatiest character in here is the evil Seth—I could practically smell the stink coming off of him; but then fleshing out personalities is perhaps the trickiest part of retelling ancient tales. Despite the small deficit in personality-based tension, there is still plenty of blood, sweat and eyeliner-stained tears in this story to keep me hoping for a next chapter some time soon.

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