Among is a short story from Stefano Cardoselli that appeared in Heavy Metal #268. It’s only nine pages, but it manages to tell a story with a twist. It opens with what looks like futuristic samurai fighting. We follow one samurai that is cutting through all of the others that are waiting to take him on one at a time. It continues like this until he domes the last guy. I’m going to tell you the twist because without it I don’t have much else to talk about. After the final death the story pans up and we find two guards sitting on a wall having taken a bet on who would win. One of the guards is newer and so he asks why they’re dressed like samurai and using swords. His senior tells him that the government pumps them full of drugs and gives them the weapons rather than deal with their mental illness. Here they’re drugged and kept away from society, but also unleashed on each other.
It’s pretty fucked up, but if you eliminate the samurai element and the over the top violence then the commentary is fitting for our society. Cardoselli manages to fit in a lot of great character moments for these men that we don’t know or understand. Their final words are confusing without the context of where they’re coming from, but then things like “I coulda gone fishing” take on a different meaning when you view it as an asylum for the mentally ill.
The art of course is gorgeous because Cardoselli is working solo and is able to bring his unique style to the forefront. He keeps the page backgrounds white which isn’t his norm and then drapes each page with blood. It’s nine pages, but it’s all beautiful.
As for the rest of the magazine I don’t know if the stories are worth the purchase, but anything that contains Cardoselli’s work is worth a purchase in my opinion.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Stefano Cardoselli Website