Zone 5300, Dahl meets Wilde

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Issue 96 of Zone 5300, the ‘magazine for comics, culture and curiosa’, starts with a rather disappointing retelling of Roald Dahl’s Skin* by experienced cartoonists Pieter van Oudheusden en Erik Wielaert. If you are studying a master, you should perhaps pay attention to how he does things. Where Dahl creates tension by leaving the ending up to the reader’s imagination, Van Oudheusden and Wielaert barge into the story and fill in all the blanks by tacking on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

In a way I feel sorry for the authors because using Dahl’s ending would have been difficult to translate into comic form, so they had to come up with something. And their choice of using an attractive young woman instead of an old hobo as the living artwork may seem obvious considering the medium, but is inspired in my opinion. The layer of eroticism that is automatically added by the introduction of the protagonist is left entirely undealt with, and just sits there as a month-old scab on a healthy skin.

If the old guard disappoints, this issue also introduces up-and-coming artists that I would like to see more from in the future. Although Wouter Eizenga and André Bols have been around for a while, their Bliksembezoek (Flash Visit) is their first published comic. (Illustration middle)

The panel below is from a comic Belgian Maarten de Saeger wrote and drew for his girlfriend called Everything You Should Know About Me. “I hide my dirty dishes when I have visitors over. One day later… why am I so terribly lazy?” I like his apartment!

*) In both stories an art collector buys a tattooed painting with the owner of the skin still attached to it. Roald Dahl tells the story from the creation of the tattoo up to its sale, whereas Wielaert and Van Oudheusden take the sale as a starting point.

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