Hoy quiero dar a conocer una obra que difícilmente verá la luz en nuestro país, ya que se trata de un cómic autopublicado por el guionista inglés Mike Garley. Aún así, considero que su Samurai Slasher es algo que merece ser reivindicado por sus dos características principales: diversión descerebrada y reflexión introspectiva. Esto parece totalmente contradictorio, y en efecto lo es, pero Mike Garley logra ofrecer ambas vertientes en «Samurai Slasher» de un modo muy satisfactorio. Para comprenderlo mejor os invito a leer la reseña completa, no sin antes proclamar mi fascinación por este personaje que pide a gritos una película (o saga de películas) para codearse con Jason, Freddy o Michael Myers. Ahí lo dejo.
Al final de este post podréis encontrar la reseña completa en inglés, aprovechando que el propio Mike Garley me pidió una traducción del texto. Por tanto, si sois angloparlantes podréis disfrutarla igualmente.
Podéis leer la reseña completa en el siguiente enlace, o pinchando en la imagen:
Samurai Slasher: ha nacido un icono
Full review in english:
Recently, in the review that we dedicated to Slasher, we defined the conventions of the slasher subgenre and talked about how Charles Forsman subverted them to offer something with much more weight than usual in products of this kind. In principle, the present case is just the opposite, since the English writer Mike Garley (Adventure Time, The Kill Screen) makes clear his intentions from the beginning: offer a homage, largely parodic, to all that movies of hooded and immortal killers. For this, he has created possibly one of the most charismatic characters (even though its lack of words) of indie comics: the Samurai Slasher.
The premise of «Samurai Slasher» cannot be simpler. Everything begins with a group of young people (pay attention to the implicit parody of the Scooby-Doo characters) arriving at a cabin in the forest ready to spend a weekend of partying. At nightfall, our hero will soon appear. Samurai Slasher, a samurai warrior from the beyond who will finish the kids one by one, executing them in the most diverse ways. Pure and simple slasher.
This is just the first story that serves as the starting point for the first volume of the series. So far 3 volumes have been released (all of them self-published) with the same structure; Each volume is a compendium of short stories with a “gorehumoristic” approach, with many nods to the 80’s that serve to enlarge the figure and the legend of this peculiar character. To get an idea, we will see Samurai Slasher run rampant in places like an art museum, a skating rink or at the circle of Stonehenge. Any place is good to kill and slaughter. We will even have a 3-D story, as a nod to the small fever that there were for the three dimensions in the 80s. Even so, as the stories follow one another, details are introduced that combine them in a common thread that develops until it becomes more important in the third volume.
Each of the small pieces that put together the volumes are drawn by different artists, each with its own style. This, which could seem like a lack of graphic coherence, actually contributes to enrich the character with different visions and interpretations, always with Mike Garley at the script. I really appreciate the inclusion at the end of the volumes of a gallery of sketches and illustrations, some of which are tremendous. Special mention for the VHS cover that is included in the third volume. Spectacular.
Everything it’s good, but could be included within those “guilty pleasures” that we all have and with which we enjoy. But there is more. The story that makes a difference is Samurai Slasher: Late Fees, a 30-page story published independently from the rest of the volumes. In it, Mike Garley makes a radical turn and masterfully demonstrates how such a flat character can be used to tell a deep personal story.
«Late Fees» tells the relationship between a father and a son over the years, always through the eyes of the child. When he was a boy, he only met his father during the weekends, when they used to rent VHS movies and watch them together. One of those movies is “Samurai Slasher”, and its viewing is a life-changing event for the child. From then on, he will face reality through imagination, using the character of the samurai as an escape route in the face of traumatic situations.
It’s fascinating how Mike Garley manages to alter the order that he had established and cross a barrier that did not even seem to exist. Relatively speaking, Garley bets on the same game that made Alan Moore known in the eighties: to take a meaningless character and magnify it by using it as a catalyst to tell us deeper things. In this case, Garley uses his creation in a very intelligent way, proposing a very interesting meta-referential game that comes up several layers of subtext and some ambiguity. It is true that some of the metaphors that are thrown to us are somewhat cryptic, but from my point of view this takes the comic to another level.
The art of «Late Fees» deserves special mention. The Polish artist Lucasz Kowalczuk illustrates the story with tremendous energy, adding an underground visual style that, surprisingly, fits perfectly with a plot as personal and adult as this one. Both the designs of the human characters and the monsters that populate the pages of the comic looks awesome to me, as well as the structure of the pages. All this, along with the extraordinary color of Lucasz Mazur, make the reading of this work a fresh and eye-catching visual experience.
The final result is clearly positive, especially if the reader has previously read the fun stories of the character and suddenly meets a proposal located in the opposite end of the spectrum. This is why I consider that, although it is not necessary to read or know the three volumes to enjoy «Late Fees», the impact it causes will be more profound if you have done so.
It’s comforting to enter the universe of «Samurai Slasher» expecting to have a fun time, and ending with a moving story that speaks of the need we have to escape from reality at certain times.
Over the years, there are fewer and fewer things that surprise you. Therefore, I can do no more than congratulate Mike Garley and Lucasz Kowalczuk for achieving it.