The Smell of Starving Boys by Frederik Peeters and Loo Hui Phang. SelfMadeHero, 2017. 9781910593400. 109pp.
Post Civil War, a dapper British photographer and a gruff geologist survey wild parts of Texas. The photographer fled scandal back in New York, the geologist seems as interested in the locations of native villages as in rocks, and the young “boy” assisting them has a secret of his own. There’s a skeletal man on their trail, plus a very amused native who’s always nearby, watching, and more than a little sex.
The tale ends, as westerns must, with some violence, but before that it’s filled with beautiful images and colors. Peeters’ graphic novels always seems to have surreal images, and this is no exception — from an unexpected fish to a copse of trees that reminds me of his aama series, but it’s Phang who makes it all sing. From her horses and landscapes to the way she draws and colors shadows, particularly around campfires at night, every page of this book is beautiful.