Hypnotwist/Scarlet by Starlight by Gilbert Hernandez
Hardcover – Fantagraphics – Feb 2021 – 96 pages
In the Eisner Award-winning wordless comic (silent movie?) “Hypnotwist,” Hernandez’s B-movie star Fritz plays a character who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere – until she puts on a pair of glittery pumps. Her wanderings become increasingly surreal as she confronts motherhood, alcoholism, a sinister smiley face, cruelty, and her worst fate. “Killer” cameos! Includes 16 pages of previously unpublished, additional material.
“Scarlet by Starlight” is a B movie that’s Star Trek meets Heart of Darkness. “Scientists,” or colonizers, are doing research, surrounded by “primitive” fauna they affectionately nickname or treat like pests. Fritz plays Scarlet, a peaceful, catlike humanoid with a mate and children. When she becomes infatuated with one of the scientists, the fragile web of relationships explodes into violence and death, calling into question who the “advanced, civilized” creatures really are.
The two graphic novellas that comprise the book have been published as a “dual-sided book” with two covers, so the two stories each end in the middle of the book (with the one you’re not reading being upside down).