Rawbone is a very viceral violent pirate story, intricately researched and written by famed Hellblazer writer Jamie Delano and drawn by Max Fiumara for Avatar. The new issue is out today in the US, out tomorrow in the UK. It’s depraved and decadent, Delano playing the trick, as he with the entire series, of placing modern expectations of another age at odds with the reality he portrays, more in line with current sexual practices. The old “the youngsters think they invented sex” approach, with the amusement of wrapping sordid talk in an older tongue. As it were. Lots of calling nuns “cunts”, burning them alive and stripping up skinned corpses on crucfixes. This is a very rough book but terribly pleasing so, a remarkable example of the reader living a horrendous life vicariously, revelling in the surface joys and repugnancies it brings. Basically what every pirate fiction tries to do, Rawbone succeeds without compare, in the comics form at least, comparable with Garth Ennis’ treatment of the zombie triope in Crossed.
Earlier this week I was musing how in the last twenty years, little has matched Miracleman #15 for pure upsetting viceral horror in Western comics. Some Hellblazer maybe, a little Faust, maybe a touch of Rick Veitch King Hell Heroica, even recent No Hero from Avatar. But Rawbone seems to smell bad (and I don’t meen the printing ink) as if it is rotting off the page. Not to be read while chomping down a BLT that’s for sure.
The end of this series is reminscient of Moore and Campbell’s From Hell, seeing how throuigh death, it gives birth to a terrible future that still lives with us now. It’s horrific, burns the retinas and haunts the reader. Enjoy.