One of the most passionate, pulpy private eye comics to hit North American shores in the early nineties was THE RIO KID, a European import translated and published in English in 1991 by American comic publisher Eternity.
Set in Rio de Janero, and full of nasty, brutal violence (eye-gouging is quite prevalent), lush tropical scenery, and a rampant, open sensuality that pervades the entire series, it's like nothing else in North America. -- and not to be confused with Doug (Jonny Quest) Wildey's far better known western hero of the same name.
The Rio Kid is a transplanted American, living in Rio, scraping up just enough work as a private detective to keep himself in Camels and booze. Aiding him in his adventures is his sometimes-sidekick Bolo, a bulge-eyed, long-necked part-time bartender drawn, like most blacks in this series, in decidedly broad, almost racist strokes. But then, everything is drawn in broad strokes. Jug ears and bad dental work abound. It's like all those old B-movies come to life. There's a fat, corrupt, repulsive pig of a police chief. women are either wet dreams come to life, or fat, hysterical battleaxes. And then there's the 'Kid himself, handsome, blonde, broad-shouldered, a Camel jammed in his yap, sporting two-tone shoes, a Panama suit and a fedora, tough as nails and with all the scruples of an alley cat. All his cases seem to end in bloodshed and mayhem, while the natives of Rio provide continual comic relief, as they carry on, oblivious to the Kid, intent on their pursuit of good times.
It may not be politically-correct anymore, but this is a pretty good series. I just wish I knew more about the original European stories...
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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