Black Rat

Image of Black Rat
Release Date: 
September 15, 2015
Koyama Press
Reviewed by: 

This book is not for the uninitiated in comics or graphic novels of either today or those past. Author and artist Cole Closser draws on prewar and war manga, red-book manga, and old comics as well as art brut, also known as outsider art, which truly best describes what Black Rat is: outsider art.

Beyond cultural boundaries and shifting between them as well as in time, Black Rat sees a particular rat obsessed with eternal life and the characters he encounters in his quest; however, Black Rat is not carried through in the same voice from start to finish; while the protagonist remains the same, and some characters are revisited, the art shifts in mimicry of various artists and forms.

Fans of outsider art and those who are familiar with the originating texts and comics from whence this experimental work comes from will thrill in the visual language and form on display by the Eisner Award-nominated Closser. The rest of the population who enjoy sequential art along the lines of DC Comics or graphic novels that tell a clear story on its simplest terms will struggle with interpreting and enjoying Black Rat.