by Richard Corben, June 1984
Appeared in RanXerox in New York, prob. only in an American edition.
It is my great pleasure to introduce this work by Tanino Liberatore and Stefano Tamburini. They have given us a mechanical creature with more passionate violence than any human character I have ever seen in the comic medium.
Ranxerox is a punk, futuristic Frankenstein, and with the under-aged Lubna, they are a bizarre Beauty and the Beast. This artist and writer team have turned a dark mirror to the depths of our Id and we see reflected the base part of ourselves that would take what it wants with no compromise, no apology - and woe to the person who would cross us. But it is all done with a black, wry, satyrical sense of humor.
Since I feel a close kinship to Liberatore's art, I would like to scratch this surface first. Comic work is primarily a visual medium. It is the pictures, the page design, the graphic concert of the images, scenes, and characters that first attract the reader. Then the art must also be arranged in a conventional way to form a narrative. Some artists put more emphasis on the first task, attraction, while others work harder on the narrative and descriptive elements.
I believe I fall into this second category as do most of the comic artists I most admire. Our newest champion is Liberatore. Drawing apparently comes easily to this giant. His skill with anatomical forms is beautiful; yet he is not enslaved to this skill but uses it as a tool to further portray the characters. This guy can really draw flesh-and-blood people. He uses shaded, rounded forms -a rarity in comic art- and he does it with felt-tip markers! The ability to render soft edges with such a tool borders on the supernatural! Ranxerox and Lubna prowl a decayed urban setting with a seething mass of apathetic humanity. All this is rendered with rich textures in a chaotic but fitting color scheme.
Ranxerox is a bizarre anti-hero in a twisted, distorted world. There is quite a lot of violence here. Ranx clobbers junkies, thugs, punks, and whole motorcycle gangs. Generally these are nasty characters who get what they deserve. We vicariously cheer Ranx on. But there are a couple of instances that might cause the reader to stop and think, even get angry for a moment: After a psychotic with a gun opens fire in a crowded train, killing several innocent bystanders, none of the survivors is concerned about the victims. And earlier, Ranx is irritated by a little girl selling flowers and he crushes her hand. Is this mindless peripheral violence? This may be an absurdly exaggerated joke about Italian flower girls. Perhaps Tamburini is saying, with Liberatore's help, that innocence has no hope for survival in such a world and the general population consists of automaton-like people who are more like machines than Ranxerox.
Finally, despite the artistic complexity, Ranxerox is not to be taken too seriously. Like Punch who threw his baby out the window and constantly beat Judy, Ranx is outrageous, but funny entertainment.
Copyright © 2004 Heart-Attack-Series,
Created: December 16, 2004. Modified: January 17, 2012.