City of the underworld, comic review in Mondo Sonoro (2024)

City of the underworld, comic review in Mondo Sonoro (2024)
City of the underworld, comic review in Mondo Sonoro (2024)

How to define “City of underworld”?, the first comic of Terry Goldenberg that has reached Spanish bookstores? This is, we can say in advance, a really complicated task. The twenty-one stories (of different lengths, most of them just a couple of pages long) that make up this work are independent and unclassifiable, but, together, they form a coherent whole that seems impenetrable to any analysis.

Let’s give some examples. Let’s imagine that, in the 1940s, instead of going to Mexico to later shoot masterpieces like “Simon of the desert” o “The Exterminating Angel”Luis Buñuel would have been hired in Hollywood to shoot the film noirs starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall or George Raft, which were so popular at the time, filtered through a surrealist filter. Let’s imagine that Dalí had become obsessed with Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy comic strips, turning their images into a vehicle for his own obsessions. Let’s imagine that Samuel Beckett was famous not for having written “Waiting for Godot” but for being the person most responsible for the script of “The Maltese Falcon”.

Title “City of underworld” This seems very fortunate for this collection of graphic stories. There is no visible presence of “crime” or “delinquency” in Goldenberg’s work, because what is criminal and twisted is the very reality inhabited by his characters. In many cases (such as in “The Fashion Outlet,” “The Public Sector,” or the wonderful “Strange Story” that closes the volume) it takes on a dreamlike, nightmarish form. The events are not simply absurd; we feel that there is a meaning, but it resists us, as when we dream.

There is always a certain hidden, very dark humor in the background, but the predominant emotion is anxiety. As if each story revealed that, on the other side of everything we know, of what seems stable and solid, there is only wallpaper. That all the security that protects us from chance and chaos is illusory. A walk in the countryside, seeing some birds in the sky or a night game with a coworker can lead us to extinction.

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