While American readers may not be very familiar with his name, Guido Crepax was one of the great Italian comics artists, best known for creating the character Valentina Rosselli, who appeared in erotically charged comics as well as an Italian TV series and feature film. Fantagraphics’ upcoming oversized hardcover, The Complete Crepax: Dracula, Frankenstein, And Other Horror Stories, is the first installment in a new project translating many of Crepax’s comics in English for the first time, and features the cartoonist’s first Valentina stories as well as his adaptations of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley’s seminal horror works.
These preview pages can’t capture the majesty of The Complete Crepax, which has over 400 pages of material printed in a huge 10” by 14” book. But they do reveal the incredible craft and imagination at the core of Crepax’s art. Following Valentina and her lover, Phillip Rembrandt, as they discover the body of a subterranean woman before entering a pop art photoshoot, these pages show Crepax’s skill for creating detailed environments, distinct characters and fashions, and bold graphic compositions.
The situation is already surreal, but it becomes even more ethereal and experimental once Crepax starts exploring Valentina’s dreams, resulting in some fascinating page layouts and stylistic shifts as Crepax pulls inspiration from movies like Nosferatu and Jules Et Jim, sports illustration, and Pablo Picasso. There’s a brilliant energy in these pages, and readers can bask in the sensual glory of Crepax’s work when The Complete Crepax goes on sale later this month.