grasping rasputin

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This post could have as easily been titled “Die Hard: 1916.” Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was hard to kill. The first assassination attempt was disembowelment; it took him 10 weeks to recover. In the second, multifarious, and ultimately successful attempt, he was shot, poisoned, bludgeoned, and dumped in the water. An autopsy revealed death by drowning.

Later, he was disinterred and burned, and legend has it that he sat up before succumbing to the flames. Read his fascinating story on Wikipedia, if you dare!

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5 comments
  1. Rasputin, to me, evokes the work of Hugo Pratt, an amazing italian illustrator and comic book author. Rasputin was a frequent enemy/associate of Corto Maltese, Pratt’s best known character.
    If you look up Hugo Pratt on Google images, you should see some of his work. It is both remarkably free, and, precise is not the right word, evocative, perhaps. I love his use of solid blacks, as well as his delicate use of watercolor.

    As a writer, he was interesting and his characters, without being anti heroes, were ambiguous. Corto Maltese is an active man, but still detached, a bit of an observer. Pratt was quite successful in Europe, but I don’t know about the US.

    I wonder how Gerard Despardieu was as Raspoutine? Somehow, it seems a stretch, even for such a formidable actor!

    Michel L

    • Didn’t see Depardieu–wish Liam Neeson had tackled the role as a younger man. (Rasputin was 47 years old when he was overkilled.) Now to check on Hugo Pratt–thanks, M. L!

    • Just looked at some Pratt. I see some Milton Caniff and Will Eisner echoes, and retrosee Pratt echoes in Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz. And maybe just a hint in Michel Lamontagne. 🙂 I will be looking some more.

      Wasn’t Corto Maltese the subject of Vicki Vale’s photojournalism in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie?

  2. You’re right about Vicky Vale, good shot! I remember noticing the reference in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Burton (one of my favorite directors, by the way) must have picked up on it. European illustrators from the seventies often cite Caniff as a reference but I’ve never seen much of his work. But I find Pratt much wilder, freer than Eisner, and not as dark, not so urban, story wise (often tropical and hot, in fact!). And European comics benefited from far superior printing and coloring.
    Michel Lamontagne, I have heard in strict confidence, is heavily influenced by Jean Giraud, also knows as Moebius, and by Jean Claude Mezières, who drew the Valerian and Laureline series. The other defining influences would be 2001, A Space Odyssey, the Chris Foss SF book covers and Rene Magritte.

    • Rereading your reply years later, Michel. It’s Magical. And speaking of Magic, hope you saw DOCTOR STRANGE. A visual person like you will appreciate the visual feast!

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