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posted January 27, 2005


Creator: Rich Tommaso
Publishing Info: Alternative Comics, 24 pages, $4.95, 2004
Ordering Numbers: 1891867539 (ISBN)

The longtime Dark Horse- and Fantagraphics-published cartoonist Rich Tommaso deserves credit for continuing to find new places to go stylistically. His latest "look" mixes thin line work with dramatically spotted blacks, substituting various staged tableaux in favor of the energetic depictions of action or the grotesque character designs that broke the visual monotony in past books.

Perverso! tells the story of photographer Roy, whose work in dirty pictures has begun to wear on him. He gets involved with the subject of one of his pictures, who may or may not be severely underage. Led to believe that he may soon face the consequences of his more legally dubious work and the aforementioned personal relationship, he makes a drastic break with the past and moves somewhere to work in obscurity, convinced that it was living out his fantasies that put him in potential danger in the first place. That's a fairly complicated narrative structure that turns on a number of really subtle points; it may be beyond Tommaso's ability to achieve some of what those pivotal scenes require working within a still-new style. Some of the pages feature physical details that are just odd; and the ability to stay consistent limits Tommaso's ability to control the story's tone. It's certainly a unique set of interests that keeps Tommaso working in comics, and it should be fascinating to see what might happen if he were to settle artistically and get to the point where his minor turning points are communicated as clearly as the grander ones.