Blacky: Four of Us, review in the Comics Journal

This was my favorite of the Centrala albums. It reminds me a bit of Lewis Trondheim-style autobio (in the vein of Petits Riens), only Skutnik draws himself and his family as gremlin-like elves. The long ears, shadowy features, and intense eyes are simply fun to look at on the page. Skutnik’s curmudgeonly wit mixed with a surprisingly affecting account of his interactions with his young daughters make each page a roller coaster of emotional states, from contentment to exasperation (his struggle with a vacuum cleaner) to philosophical resignation (at his father’s grave). Sometimes it’s simply witty (like his sarcastic musings about his mother and how little she knows him). He drops line after line and image after image on the reader as the book meanders through events like a regular working day, a haircut and a day at the beach. The best page of all is a splash with a demented figure that reads, “And the Old Grandfather Time sits on his branch and goes, ‘He he he he he.’ Just like any other psychopath.” In the end, there’s a kind of triumph, a powerful realization that this is precisely the life he wants to lead. This is clearly a work by an artist firmly in the mature part of his career, one with a lot to say and one who knows just how to say it in his own style.

Rob Clough