Saturday, October 16, 2021

Acer Bloodgood:

Belgian writer/artist Jean-Phillipe Strassen retells the events surrounding the Rwanda genocide through the lens of a young man’s coming of age in a world of dread. Then, Rob Osborne (1000 Steps to World Domination), gives us the story of Frank McDonald, a widower prone to crimes of passion in Sunset City, a title Acer calls, “ a sort of Sin City for the senior set.”




Serving as both prelude and aftermath to the Rwandan genocide of 1994, this compelling 78-page story centers on the story of a young man named Deogratias and the terrible events that close in around him. Flipping back and forth between the past and present, Deogratias moves inexorably to its sorrowful conclusion with sympathy and restraint. The poignant coming-of-age story evolves into an African gothic full of dread and horror

Belgian writer/artist Jean-Phillipe Strassen subtly delineates the skein of ethnic mistrust and post-colonial ills that midwifed the Rwandan genocide without losing sight of the human element and personal choices involved. An even-handed political history of the genocide prefaces the story.







Sunset City

Generally speaking, old people and their issues make for uncommon subject matter in comics. Rob Osborne (1000 Steps to World Domination) takes an admirable shot at it with this cohesive and satisfying tale of senior malaise and suburban distemper. Originally conceived as a sort of Sin City for the senior set, Osborne borrows a contrivance or two from Frank Miller’s playbook but takes a less fanciful course and obtains a somewhat different overall result.

Sunset City, “for active senior living,” hinges on the story of widower Frank McDonald whose unresolved grief and emotional isolation render him vulnerable to startling crimes of passion. Not all gloom and doom, Osborne leavens the proceedings with funny slices of senior life, and adds dimension to the book’s narrative perspective by interspersing the story with several whole pages taken from Sunset Citizen, Sunset City’s local rag that McDonald reads every day. The stories in the newspaper provide important context for the book’s noirish climax.

Osborne’s deft characterizations and attention to detail inspire re-readings of this 72-page, black and white graphic novel.








Acer Bloodgood is the pen name of a longtime ComicBase writer acquired from a family of maple trees. There is some worry that this sobriquet is “too goth-weenie.” For the record, Acer grew up in California’s suburban sprawl and now lives in San Francisco where he whiles the nights away in dingy dive bars. He drinks whisky with seltzer and lemon.

Acer Bloodgood Archive