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The Butchery h/c

The Butchery h/c The Butchery h/c The Butchery h/c

The Butchery h/c back

Bastien Vives


Page 45 Review by Stephen

Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month October 2021

A young man clacks closed his front dotoppi vor from the inside, leaving but a dim blue light, stares at the motionless handle, bonks his head against the wooden frame in either regret or resignation... then is surprised to hear the bell ring.

“Sorry...” says a young woman with bright eyes.

Her face, flushed red by the cold, is framed between dark hair, her coat’s high collar and an orange woollen hat. Sunlight pours in as she reaches out to wrap her arms snugly round her lover’s neck and shoulders, kissing him unreservedly.

“G’night...” she says with a smile and leaves him gazing out after her.

THE BUTCHERY’S subsequent 70-odd pages choreograph similar snapshots of relationship dances which I believe 98.73% of you will find both wonderfully and woefully familiar regardless of which sexes are depicted. Many a metaphor is thrown in too, unless yours prominently featured planks of wood and sharpened knives.

But look who’s doing the sharpening: close inspections reveal subtle surprises. There’s even a game of table tennis which is decidedly one-sided and, as the front covers suggests, the brushing of teeth in the bathroom. The back cover’s the bigger clue to what lies within - bewildered solitude - and there will be variations upon the bathroom routine theme, just as there were in the film 'Force Majeure', the comparison being far from inapposite.

My favourite scene (or sketch) involves dining out. It’s excruciatingly funny, from afar, and begins thus:

“Ready to order?”
“Yes, I’d like one break-up, please.”
“One break-up, Great. Anything on the side?”
“No, thanks?”
“Any sauce?”
“No thanks.”
“Just to warn you, the break-up may be a bit tough.”
“That’s fine.”

... Says the partner who actually ordered the break-up.

“For you, sir?”
“Uh... You’ve caught me a little off-guard, here. I’ll take some compassion, please.”

We don’t always get what we want.

I can neither quote nor elaborate much further for fear of spoiling all the surprises on account of THE BUTCHERY being sadly (or perhaps mercifully) ever so very brief, which is one of the reasons I fought for this being Page 45 Comicbook Of The Month. It’s a perfect piece of sequential-art storytelling which threw my mind all the way back to Giovanetti’s MAX, originally appearing in PUNCH magazine back in 1952, for its similarly slick arrangement of silent, supple, comedic, unframed illustrations. However, THE BUTCHERY will take you far less time to read, as even the most casual glance on our shop shelves will show you, so I fear it being left there like a potential lover rejected, until you’ve absorbed its wonder fully for yourselves in comfort, at home. Hence it being thrust on you as Page 45 CBOTM with all the sincerity of someone who adores the craft of comics as much as you. Then I strongly suspect you’ll be buying it as presents for friends who are worth the full £17-99 which you might not spend on yourselves.

They might need a little pick-me-up – or at least solace in numbers.

Or perhaps a friendly warning, as delivered during the second sequence here immediately following the front-door farewell. No spoilers, except to promise that it’s as funny on every subsequent re-read as it is initially and abruptly baffling during the first.

As to the colours, there aren’t even crayons in comics.

From the co-creator of THE GRANDE ODELISQUE which is one of the funniest, most joyous graphic novels I’ve ever belatedly read. I may have to go back and review that one too, but if not please ask me on the shop floor. Three women art thieves tackle La Musee D’Orsay, then a Mexican drugs cartel, then the Louvre. Best use of a recurring visual gag that I can currently recall – involving tranquiliser darts.