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Who is Blacksad?

Private Investigator John Blacksad is the protagonist and narrator of the Blacksad comic series along with its videogame, Blacksad: Under the Skin. He is a detective who also undertakes various jobs when he is short of money.

He was raised in a poor neighborhood and spent much of his youth running from the police. This and his service in World War II account for his above-average marksmanship and fighting skills. He also spent a year in college as a history major before being expelled. Like other hardboiled detectives, Blacksad narrates his stories, adding cynical commentary on the evils of the world around him.

Unlucky in love, he never seems to be able to form a lasting relationship, often due to circumstances beyond his control.

Personal Thoughts

My appreciation of John Blacksad can be boiled down to two points:

He's a Cool Guy

Blacksad may be your average hardboiled detective typical of the noir genre, but like… he’s so cool while he does it. He really is. I love him so much, it’s unreal. He's smooth, he's tough, and he's a cool guy all around, all while he does his work. I literally wrote fanfiction of him for the Blackmore fanzine - which you can check out here. That is something I NEVER do because I’m always scared of misinterpreting the characterization of canon characters, so consider it the highest honor I can bestow upon a character.

He's Good Representation

He’s obviously black-coded — well, biracial to be exact — which I like a lot. Look in the issues "Arctic Nation" and "Hell, Silence", it’s basically stated there.

Blacksad is confronted by the Arctic Nation for being a colored person in a restaurant.

"To the Arctic Nation, he's just as impure as the crow they lynched; in the Black community, he's seen as being too disconnected from their struggles. This is largely because Blacksad seemingly passes for white in some instances, which gives him a certain amount of privilege."

- Blacksad: Arctic Nation's Powerful Message on Race

This is something I can definitely relate to as a light-skinned black person. I don't want to get any further into my racial identity, since this page is supposed to be about Blacksad. Maybe another time elsewhere on this website.

Anyways, I wish more black men were characterized like him. Usually in media, black men are depicted as dumb, violent, criminal brutes, and I'm sick of it. So to see a guy like Blacksad who knows how to fight but also use his street-smarts, wits, and natural charisma to navigate solving his cases is really nice.

John Blacksad is genuinely good representation in my opinion, and I appreciate Juan Díaz Canales for writing that as an aspect of his characterization.

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