‘The Collector’ by Sergio Toppi review

The hardcover cover art for The collector by Sergio Toppi
The hardcover cover art for The collector by Sergio Toppi

“The Collector” By Sergio Toppi Review

By Hank Van Hawkins

  As soon as I signed into Boom! comics with my fresh sparkling new press pass, I saw a lot of titles that piqued my interest. But, the one that drew me in right away more so than any of the others initially was The Collector. Despite the fact it is an entire graphic novel, I know I could have started off by choosing a few single issues of something else first but I had to sink my teeth into this one right upon seeing it.  It is a translated work by Italian artist Sergio Toppi.  With the basic plot and cover art it was speaking to my personal tastes, so I dove right in. The premise of the character alone is enough to get my imagination in gear.  The art work has a surreal undertone, almost immediately exposing the artist’s love for impressionism.  It is bare bones drawing at it’s most poignant. If anything, his art organically inspires the artist in all of us to not worry about coloring outside the lines or worrying about every little mark having to be exactly perfect. Honestly, the art is transcendental.

I usually take in the art work before diving into the writing as a matter of fact. I didn’t get too far before my curiosity couldn’t hold it’s rabid thirst for The Collector’s story, and believe you me, there is a lot of depth to the tale. It obviously speaks out about the collector in every collector out there, somehow leading to this guy as one of the original purveyors of a practice that is all too common in this day and age whether it is comics, cards, games or antiquities for that matter. There isn’t alot out there that isn’t collected in some capacity. 

 He is a well rounded and well financed eclectic eccentric with his hand in many creative business ventures.  He is a worldly gentlemen whose interests push through to many facets of the finer things in life. And in turn, keep him on the move to the next piece of his “collection.”  In order to collect, one must have monetary means to feed the habit so to speak. Of course, I love westerns and any story seemingly set in anywhere in the 1800’s. So it is an easy and interesting read and again, the art work is very eye pleasing and the story line plays up the primitive look of the drawing as well. He has a vigilante streak to his persona that comes in handy when he finds many characters as obstacles that are in the way of his pursuit. He is a gentlemen about his rogue means. His power of persuasion is pervasive as he uses his manners to ask many a stranger for his next clue to the object of his current affection. 

 I really love how he comes across famous historical figures and heads to historical places, all while on the hunt. It is at the least a page from the “who’s who” of tribal chiefs and Native Americans during the first arc. An entertaining tale with its roots in reality. Anytime you can have Crazy Horse as one of the characters, of course I am going to buy this book ! It holds up tremendously well considering it was first released in the sixties. His drawing style is actually very similar to Jack Jackson, a famous illustrator of many underground comics from the 60’s . He is one of R. Crumb‘s peers. Jack himself drew and wrote many historical stories about outlaws and lawmen from the roots of The Republic of Texas and it’s as if both of these guys prayed at the same art altar at one time or another. 

 Anytime archaeology and artifacts are woven into a story line it seems to appeal to history buffs, lit freaks as well as comic book readers. This is a all round great read.  It portrays the rough hewn grit of the old west as the Collector moves on from artifact to artifact which keeps each arc in the story stirring enough to keep your attention.  He is part Jonah Hex and part Indiana Jones . A great culmination which I only wish there was more to read. It also reminds me of the french comic hero Blueberry, but with the added angle of the search for each artifact and its back story, all the while shifting nicely into the current pursuit of the next piece. He lives on the edge during each of his crusades where he constantly flirts with disaster during each of his pursuits. He extinguishes any one who happens to stand in his way. Nothing nor anyone stands in his way. A relentless collector.

If you have never read a graphic novel before and the form is new to you, there would be no better place to start than the collector.

Please read on for a preview of ‘The Collector’ by Sergio Toppi

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Have you read the collector? How about any of Hank’s references in the article? Leave a comment and discuss.

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‘THE COLLECTOR’ FINALLY AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH

ARCHAIA TO MAKE SERGIO TOPPI’S
‘THE COLLECTOR’ FINALLY AVAILABLE
IN ENGLISH

BOOM! Studios releasing the collector for us English speakers.
The Collector coming in English

THE COLLECTOR Cover by Sergio Toppi
May 29,  2014 – Los Angeles, CA – The late Sergio Toppi is considered one of the greatest sequential masters of our time, influencing generations of comic artists and illustrators with his beautifully detailed line work, including Sean Gordon Murphy, Simone Bianchi, Walt Simonson, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Francesco Francavilla. Archaia, an award-winning imprint of BOOM! Studios, is proud to announce the September release of THE COLLECTOR, Toppi’s longest-running original series, now translated into English for the first time since its debut in 1984. Archaia previously published Toppi’s SHARAZ-DE: TALES FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS to much acclaim.

 

Toppi’s breathtaking line work and composition will leave you staring at his pages for hours. While this oversized edition serves as much as an art book as a comic, the adventures of the globe-scouring, daredevil Collector will appeal to fans of the Indiana Jones movies, Five Ghosts, or Doc Savage.

 

“Not everyone realizes how much of an influence Toppi was to some of today’s most successful creators,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “When Archaia released SHARAZ-DE early last year, new fans began to discover what a classic illustrator he truly was. Now, with this English translation of THE COLLECTOR, one of his seminal works, it’s our pleasure to continue to publish the masterworks of one of the all-time greats.”

 

Far from the auction halls of the elite, The Collector seeks out rare and mysterious artifacts across the world. He is as at home in the salons of Paris as he is in the jungles of Borneo. Set against the backdrop of late 19th-century colonialism, THE COLLECTOR is a delightful, swashbuckling adventure! This edition features an introduction by Sean Gordon Murphy (The Wake).

 

THE COLLECTOR hardcover graphic novel arrives from Archaia in comic shops on September 3rd with a cover price of $34.99. It will be available for pre-order through comic shops starting May 28th. Not sure where to find your nearest comic retailer? Use comicshoplocator.com or findacomicshop.com to find one!