Stewart Harrow was a WWII American Sergeant, and Stephan' Egger a German Lieutenant, until a "poisoned" thorn left both less than men and more than Bosom Enemies.
That is only half-true. That inexplicable (silly) thorn made them less men and more horse below their waists. Now, they are neither centaurs nor human beings. They are "Turbs", so named by their tiny masters who are horse above their waists.
It is a topsy-turvy world visually inspired by Albrect Durer's woodcuts and Sebastian Brant's 1494 work, Ship of Fools.
These mutated centaurs are a literary device used' by cartoonist Donna Barr to add visual impact to this essay on slavery, the core subject in Bosom that drives Barr's powerful story and art.
Stewart and Stephan
awaken in a subterranean world in which the roles of man and animal have been
reversed; animal is master. The roles of American and German are flipped as
well. It is the proud German Turb who fights against the loss of freedom as his
masters try to "break" him for use as a soldier's steed.
Bosom began as a series of very short stories in a 1986 anthology comic book called Morphs. The title was canceled after several issues, but Barr added three more stories that added a temporary conclusion to her envisioned series.
The brief, original
stories seem to stumble, harnessed in part by their necessary cramped pacing,
only to recover when that restriction is removed. But the damage remains and
weakens the otherwise poignant allegory.
Both weaknesses make Bosom a lesser work from a master, but still worthy of a spot on the bookshelves of adults.
Review by Michael Vance
Bosom Enemies, priced at $6 comes in at 64 pages. Published by Fine Line Press. Sold in comics shops and at www.stinz.com.
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