Zarco: A Centaur in the Old West
4 journalers for this copy...
This volume seems less focused on an action-heavy storyline, and moves at a more stately, reflective pace with short, sharp blows of action. The art style fully embraces this, moving to an even more stylized, full-page panel, representative look, with fewer panels attempting a "realistic", literal appearance. It perfectly blends grace and roughness, much like the settings and characters it depicts.
Like the previous tale, this is also a romance between complicated men with checkered pasts and grim motivations.
Later: The story opens on a dark note, a continuation of the story in Hotblood but with one of the two main characters having fallen during another attempted robbery. Sigh... But life is tough on the frontier, especially for those who want to make a living by stealing from others. Anyway, studly centaur Zarco is deputized to retrieve the surviving robber, red-headed centaur Rook, now in custody in another town. Cue long travel sequences showing the artist's fondness for the spare desert wilderness...
When Zarco meets Rook, sparks fly immediately, and their side-by-side-and-handcuffed-together journey through wintry aspen groves and high mountains is a classic case of the Chained Heat trope. There's a pretty sexual-tension-loaded fight, too - and when centaurs fight it's a full-body fists-and-hooves grapple... The nods to Rook's past with Asa are terse but touching, and if the story as a whole is as sparse as the landscape, it still has charm.
[There's a TV Tropes page on the webcomic. And for centaurs in Austria during WWI, check out Stinz by Donna Barr!]
It was fascinating to read and see how the idea came to them while driving through the country in California and how it manifested over time and how it was conceptualized. Some times I think that is the best part of the novels!
And the cover draws you right in! I quickly picked this one from the bookbox!
I read it while imawinn2's shrinking bookbox made a stop here and put it back in the box to find another reader. Happy travels little book!