"We don't play well with the other kids" - Don Taranturco
An unnamed city is gripped in the great depression of the 1930s. Making things tougher are the lawless gangs out to victimise anyone they can make a buck out of. The worse offender is Don Taranturco, who with his gang of hardened criminals is pretty much lying siege to the citizens of the City. Extortion, murder, and terror are the names of the game, and the Don excels in all three categories.
After a Café owner can't pay for protection the Don has him beaten to a pulp and his business burnt out. However there are some supernatural shenanigans involved as an old lady apparently curses the Don. Back home the Don starts changing, morphing into something terrible, and his hunger has just started to grow! Hang onto your tighty whities as Frank Candiloro goes The Fly on us.
Moving on from where he left off with The Testament of Doktor Zeitpunkt Candiloro continues to explore his fusion of German expressionism, art deco, and surrealism in a new one shot comic that delivers a modern equivalent of the old morality plays that were kicking around just prior to Shakespeare having the old hit down the Globe. Once again Frank Candiloro delivers on a unique style while keeping the horror elements to the fore.
With The Widowmaker Candiloro explores the modern equivalent of a morality play via the tropes of horror. Don Taranturco is a murderous bastard who has no regard for any innocent pulled into his web of crime and corruption, quite naturally this leads to him being cursed with an appropriate punishment. If you are thinking this concept has a history within the horror genre then you would be right. Beware Gypsies, old Greek ladies, and about any woman living alone in a wood. They are all in touch with their hoodoo side yo. While the Don can be happy in the knowledge he won't be howling at the full moon or chasing cars, there's something much worse in store for him as he becomes aware of his body changing. And no, we can't blame puberty for it either.
Where the real horror kicks in of course is with the Don developing some distinctly unsavoury appetites. His colleagues are the first thing on the menu, and when the Don discovers he's still a tad peckish his family might just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Candiloro nails the concept of losing your humanity in the face of becoming something else. Over the course of the thirty odd pages that make up the book Candiloro heads toward this concept before throwing a bit of a twist on to the table in the final few panels. Engrossing stuff, morality play nailed, moving on to look at the art, Candiloro is right at home in the horror fields.
Frank Candiloro has worked hard at developing an artistic style that is distinctly his own. I can almost guarantee that you will never have picked up another comic with Candiloro's touch, the aesthetics are unique and for those who like their artwork dark and foreboding, hypnotic.
There's almost a cubist touch going down, if you can view a surrealistic nightmare cubist. I guess there's also a Picasso influence going down circa Guernica, that adds an almost compelling touch to things. Candiloro is pretty loose in his drawing, don't expect realistic characterisations, but it all adds to the overall vision that most readers will rock on with.
From a technical viewpoint we're talking black and white with variances of grey going down as required. Once again I would imagine that would be due to the German expressionist influences Candiloro embraces. I'm reviewing from a pdf copy of the comic, but I would guess that we're talking standard U.S comic book size. If anyone has a physical copy of the comic then write on in with the details and I'll update the review.
Perhaps the only criticism I would send The Widowmakers way would be the comic doesn't fully explain the plot thoroughly enough for me, Candiloro does helpfully supply a synopsis at the end of the book for those of us slow on the uptake. Maybe another ten to twenty pages would not have been without use to this reader, but then I just wanted to lounge around in the comic for another half an hour or so.
For a one shot, The Widowmaker was surprisingly good fun to dial into. As stated something of a modern morality play with enough of a horror influence to have dark genre fans baying at the moon in delight. I would recommend dialling into the comic if you enjoy left field books that don't settle for playing within defined guidelines.
If you want to check the comic out for yourself then head on over to Frank Candiloro's official site, and follow the directions. Well worth your effort, just say yes to The Widowmaker today.