Moving Fortress |
by Ricardo Barreiro, Enrique Alcatena
(4 Winds, 1988)
Back in 1988, writer Ricardo Barreiro and artist Enrique Alcatena worked together to produce one of the most incredible comic book stories in the history of the medium. What's sad about this is that your average comic reader has probably never even heard of the work. Heck, I've been indulging in the medium for over 25 years, and I just discovered it.
Moving Fortress first appeared in an anthology magazine called Skorpio, published in South America and Europe. It was later translated and collected in graphic novel form for American readers.
Bask De Avregaut is making his way across a lonely desert wilderness in his aerostat (a hot air balloon with sails), when his craft is shot out of the sky and he is taken prisoner by warlord Emir Basileo, the ruler of an incredible, city-sized mobile fortress.
Waging a war against a rival lord in an attempt to rescue his abducted bride, the Emir has Bask tossed into the belly of his great fortress, to stoke the fires in its boiler room. Proving himself as an accomplished cannoneer in battle, however, Bask earns the respect, and even admiration of the Emir and his crew.
This is the kind of comic work that helps define the medium as an art form. Barreiro's characters are visually captivating, thanks to Alcatena's deft hand, and their motivations are convincing.
Plot-wise, the book is almost perfect. From page one, the reader is drawn in, and held fast throughout the work. Alcatena's black-and-white artwork demonstrates his near-mastery of the craft, with a depth, texture and sense of detail rarely seen in comics.
Self-contained and entertaining from beginning to end, Moving Fortress is a work whole-heartedly recommended for those who enjoy good comics or simply a well-crafted story.