Duet On Solo, Part Six: Jordi Bernet
By Matt Seneca & Sean Witzke
Seam Witzke: Following a good run of solid American cartoonists, Solo #6 is the first foreign artist in the roster. Jordi Bernet’s career has been highlighted in most American readers’ eyes by his work on Torpedo and, subsequent to Solo, working with writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray on DC’s Jonah Hex series. Bernet’s Solo issue is also the first in the series to have actual black and white comics, something you’d have hoped would happen more often in these books. Then again it might have been one of the reasons Solo eventually got the axe.
Matt Seneca: It doesn’t look that strange given the career moves Bernet made after this comic came out (a semipermanent home on DC’s Jonah Hex book, where he’d consistently been the best among a rotating cast of very fine cartoonists), but I remember people being pretty weirded out by the selection of Jordi Bernet to draw any DC comic at all. Torpedo, the crime-noir book Alex Toth hand-picked Bernet as his successor on (!) gets the most nods over here, but in Europe Bernet’s far better known for Clara del Noche, a truly lowest-common denominator soft porn comic about an irrepressibly cheery street prostitute and her uncomfortably lecherous young son. It’s the kind of thing that makes Milo Manara look like an artist of refined tastes. Most of the other stuff Bernet’s done falls somewhere in between Clara and Torpedo: sexy crime or crimey sex comics that generally contain slapstick gags, lots of killing, and an uncomfortable amount of violence against women, whether implied or actually shown.
All this aside, he’s also a fantastic cartoonist. This issue is really the first time where the only clear line of reasoning for Chiarello’s hiring of an artist is pure ability, rather than any kind of proven affinity for doing comics in the DC style. It’s an encouraging step forward, even though Bernet ended up turning in an issue full of classically constructed genre shorts, including the by-now obligatory Batman story. That’s hardly a bad thing, however.
SW: Sadly, no Crimean sex comics. I think it’s telling that in interviews most of the other contributors singled this out as the best example of Solo, just because of the sheer cartooning talent on hand. I remember Chaykin especially loved this issue for what it was, which was a showcase for slinging ink around and not much else.
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