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Jeph Loeb, The Witching Hour

Do you believe in the Wiccan Rede?
That everything we do comes back to us threefold?

There are five of them, like points of a pentagram.
Gray is a charmer. In more than one sense of the word.
Black is a mulatto child prodigy, who only talks through quotes from Victorian writers. And he loves to talk.
Blue instead never speaks. He likes to play card games, though.
Ms. White was Amanda Collins, illicit daughter of an Irish Wiccan witch and a pastor. In one of her lives, that is.
And then there is Red, whom White sent to Los Angeles. Much to Gray’s annoyance.
They’ve been around a long, long time.

We listen to those who need to be heard.
We are there to speak out for those who can’t.
To try to make those who will not see, open their eyes.

This miniseries was published by Vertigo in three 48-page installments in 1999 and then collected in volume in 2000.
I originally bought it out of my passion for Chris Bachalo’s, the penciler’s, style. I’d not read anything by Jeph Loeb, the writer, before. He turns out to be a very good writer. There are pearls on every page of this comic book.
And Bachalo is in excellent form. This is his first work for DC Comics Vertigo, since his début in the late eighties with Shade written by Mulligan and the two Death miniseries by Gaiman. Which are amongst my most beloved comic books. By 2000 Bachalo had already developed a rounder, less edgy style, but was still ahead of the cartoonish turn of his more recent works. The panels are excellent, with a variety of atmospheres and multiple levels of reading. This is an artist at the heights of his powers; and Art Thibert serves him uncommonly well as a one-stand inker.
Actually, I’m tempted to give the whole thing a higher rating.

“Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedez Benz?”
When Joplin ―Janis, not Scott― sang those words in her wonderfully whiskey-soaked voice, she touched on something dear and near to us all. Whether it’s Moses throwing down the ten commandments at that golden calf, or Jesus casting out the money lenders from that temple, or Mastercard declining that latest eBay purchase… In God We Trust. All others must pay cash.

Oh, and I almost forgot…
I bought it in Uppsala, one monday afternoon in the summer of 2010.
When I chance upon a good comic bookstore I’m bound to enter, and if it so happens that I find a good book, I’m likely to buy it. It has happened in more than one country yet.
This is the shop:

I have long since come to the belief that things should end, provided that you immediately seize the chance to begin again. Just as the seasons and the earth and the sky teach us at the end of every second, minute, hour, day and night.

Jeph Loeb
The Witching Hour (2000)
pencils by Chris Bachalo, inks by Art Thibert
pp. 144, $20
DC Comics/Vertigo

Giudizio: 3/5.

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