Friday, 2 October 2009

Janus Stark

About time i got round to this fella.
After Black Max, he's my favourite British comic character and, like Max, its down to the effect the incredibly evocative b&w art had on me back in the early 70's.
With Janus and Adam Eterno, they were my first introduction to stories in Victorian settings and they're responsible for my interest in all things from that period, be it Sherlock Holmes, Dickens, the Jack the Ripper murders, the writings of Henry Mayhew etc.
So where to start with Janus? Of course its the art by Solano Lopez, excelling himself here both with the moody vistas of London and the downright strangeness of Stark himself.
First the street scenes.
I'm constantly stunned as i re-read these tales at just how much detail Lopez puts into just one panel - you'll have buildings, cobblestones, mist effects, people and all the other details. All accurate, all brilliant.
And then there's Janus. Reading the stories he comes across as very much a Holmes character and with the ego to match. But physically he's more a caricature of Holmes - the forehead is even higher, the widows peak more pronounced. But his hawk-like nose and arched eyebrows make him really rather unearthly and etherial.
And then there's the ordeals he puts himself through.
I'll be detailing these at length but, for now, i'll just say that the appeal of this strip was waiting to see just what he had to endure week after week. As an 8 year old i found them both unsettling and fascinating, and they still have that effect on me today.
The mark of a good strip is that it leaves a mark.

1 comment:

james corcoran said...

Have vague memories of Janus from an annual or some such, reckon he is well over due a revival maybe the guys at future quake could do a 70's fanzine