Review: The Bawdy Tales of Lazlo Cale (Andrew Maxwell/Goran Gligovic)

You don’t get a lot of bawdiness these days – it’s usually reserved to seaside postcards and 70s slap and tickle movies – but it is a very apt word to describe the adventures of Lazlo Cale – male prostitute turned art dealer and pan-dimensional adventurer. Discover the world of this enigmatic new hero in his debut adventure from Rum Row’s Andrew Maxwell and artist Goran Gligovic, soon to be pre-ordering on Kickstarter.

Publisher: Andrew Maxwell/Goran Gligovic
Writer: Andrew Maxwell
Artist: Goran Gligovic (Art) Bernardo Brice (Lettering) Sonia Harris (Cover design) Adam Pruett (Interior design)
Price: Currently pre-ordering on Kickstarter

The Bawdy Tales of Lazlo Cale is based in a world where an inter-dimensional time bomb has been set off in the centre of Paris causing multiple timelines to co-exist and a new breed of post humans have been revealed. Lazlo is an art dealer, having given up his previous job as a male escort, but gets drawn back in for one last job. And in doing so he comes into conflict with his ex-lover Edgar Allan Poe as the two fight over a certain painting from their past.

Continuing his excellent work from Rum Row, writer Andrew Maxwell has built an incredible world for Lazlo, that is packed full of unique characters and strange surreal set ups. And is also downright hilarious. While there are bits which feel really familiar, like the chauffeur/sidekick or the world of shady art dealers, Maxwell throws in enough strange left field curves or ideas (such as GHOST which helps keep Lazlo clean after his encounters) that keeps things really fresh and make the whole thing feel very new and unique.

It also helps that Lazlo himself is a phenomenally charismatic lead, mixing charm, and sleaze with equal measure. Not to mention his doey eyes and perfect chin making him every inch the leading man. However the supporting characters are given enough time and space to feel equally larger-than-life especially driver Nico.

From the opening pages Maxwell has the volume turned up to 11 which means the story never lets up and zips along at a fantastic pace. There are quite a few adult elements in the opening pages, which make sure that you know that it is not an all ages book, and give the book a mature edge similar to Sex Criminals in terms of it’s mix of sex and humour. It’s also interesting to see the fluidity of Lazlo’s character as he mixes up his sexuality and creates a lead who is a lot less 2-dimensional than he could have been. 

Goran Gligovic’s artwork is another huge addition to the lively nature of the book. There are shades of Michael Avon Oeming’s Powers work with some of the angular faces, and also Marcos Martin’s work on The Private Eye with it’s technicolour futurism. However there is also an hint of 30s art deco design and even echoes of Colette Coover’s work on Bandette with its Euro charm to it – albeit with a more adult tone. The artwork matches and even exceeds the exciting all action style of the story and creates a book which you wold be forgiven for assuming was an Image book it’s that damn good.

The only negative on this debut issue is that the story kind of peters out at the end. The rivalry between Lazlo and Poe doesn’t really feel that epic or heated and has no real back story to it and so the resolution doesn’t really pay off. However, the rest of the comic more than makes up for this minor quibble. Lazlo is one of those character who you love spending time with and seeing what he gets up to, while the world he lives in is packed full of so many clever ideas that you get swept along for the ride. Brilliant and ballsy, The Bawdy Tales of Lazlo Cale definitely lives up to it’s name and is an inter-dimensional hit and a bonafide work of art!