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Gritty anthropomorphic noir goodness.

"I had wrapped myself in a vicious atmosphere made of hate, vengeance, and corruption. From that day on, this would be my world. A jungle where it's survival of the fittest, where people act like animals. I had chosen to walk the darkest path in life... and I'm still on it."
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Blacksad is a series of (five so far) comic albums created by Spanish authors Juan Díaz Canales (writer) and Juanjo Guarnido (artist and ex-Disney animator; he was the lead animator for the character Sabor in Tarzan and Helga in Atlantis: The Lost Empire), and published by French publisher Dargaud. Though both authors are Spanish, their main target audience for Blacksad is the French market and thus they publish all Blacksad albums in French first; the Spanish edition usually follows about one month later. Because of this is considered both a Spanish and French comic book.

In an anthropomorphic rendition of America in the 1950s private investigator John Blacksad, a black cat, is embroiled in stories of mystery and intrigue. The albums come critically acclaimed and are a dedicated homage to the Film Noir genre. There have been five albums published so far (the first three in English in an omnibus edition by Dark Horse Comics, the fourth in a standalone hardcover):

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  • Somewhere Within The Shadows (French: Quelque part entre les ombres, 2000) has Blacksad investigating the murder of an old flame.
  • In Arctic Nation (2003) Blacksad is hired to investigate the disappearance of a young girl in a racially charged atmosphere.
  • In Red Soul (Âme Rouge, 2005) Blacksad watches over an old friend in the midst of the Red Scare, and falls in love.
  • A Silent Hell (L'Enfer, Le Silencenote  2010), sets him in New Orleans trying to track down a musician, before assassins do.
  • Amarillo (2013) is a direct sequel to the fourth book, where Blacksad tries to track down the guy who stole an expensive car he was ferrying.

Canales and Guarnido have confirmed that they are working on the sixth and seventh installments in the series — both books have been stuck in a bit of a Development Hell though, the sixth installment having been originally set for release in 2017, but later pushed back, due to both creators being busy with other projects.

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A Tabletop Roleplaying Game Blacksad The Roleplaying Game (Blacksad: Juego de Rol) was published by the Spanish company Nosolorol Ediciones in 2015. A Kickstarter campaign for an English edition was held in 2020 which raised €17,220, tripling it's original goal of €5,000 and funding new cases for the game.

A video game, Blacksad: Under the Skin, was released by Pendulo Studios and YS Interactive and published by Microids in 2019 for PC, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Under the Skin is an Interquel, taking place chronologically between Arctic Nation and Red Soul.


This comicbook series provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: In Arctic Nation.
  • Accidental Murder: In Amarillo, Chad and Neal have a heated argument, Neal tries to step away, Chad grabs his suit's sleeve... which rips apart, causing Neal to stumble and fall in front of a moving bus.
  • Anachronic Order: ''A Silent Hell".
  • Angry Black Man: In Arctic Nation there seems to be a burgeoning Black Panthers expy (which counts with animals with black fur) in response to the white fur supremacists in the district.
  • Angry Collar Grab: Early on in Somewhere Within The Shadows, the titular detective searches for his girlfriend's stalker, who is a florist, and grabs him by the collar with pistol on mouth. Even without words, it's Blacksad saying, you mess with her, you mess with Blacksad.
  • Animal Stereotypes:
    • The authors state that the species of each individual character was carefully chosen to represent who the character really is, and that the connection between the animal chosen and the personality of the character isn't always as obvious as the "cops=dogs" example. For instance he made bikers a bunch of sheeps because of the gregarious aspects of the animals and character who are either ugly or disfigured are less anthropomorphic to underline it.
    • In the second album there is possibly a Lampshade Hanging. Blacksad is at a drive-in, watching an awful B-Movie about killer giant ants. In this film, the scientist is a giant anteater, the chief of the military forces is a lion and the President of the USA is an eagle.
  • Antagonist Title: Arctic Nation is the group of white fur supremacists in the album of the same name who serve as Blacksad's antagonists. It's eventually revealed as a subversion; the real antagonist was Jezebel, who orchestrated everything that happened to get revenge on her father.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Blacksad to Jezebel, "What about Kaylie? Did she deserve this?"
  • Arc Words: "Vengeance is a dish best served cold." in Arctic Nation.
  • Art Imitates Art: One panel in the Red Soul referenses Norman Rockwell's painting "Connoisseur".
  • Aside Glance: Weekly in Red Soul, when Blacksad throws him out of his own appartment in order to be alone with Alma.
  • The Atoner:
    • Otto Liebber in Red Soul.
    • Chad ends up becoming one in Amarillo.
  • Badass Biker: A gang of them in the fifth book. Amusingly, all of them are sheep. They're a friendly bunch though, allowing Blacksad to ride with them when his car is stolen. The artist commented he was surprised to hear bikers enjoying the portrayal despite the Take That! to the gregarious aspect of a biker gang.
  • Badass Longcoat: As a rendition of the 50's private eye archetype, Blacksad is wearing the prototypical beige trenchcoat, sometimes accompanied by a suit.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Dinah. The stories are in a 50s setting, so her fashion choice is rather daring.
  • Batman Gambit: Jezebel in Artic Nation is in the middle of one several decades in the making. A key factor in this plot is marrying her own father, while keeping him from discovering this particular bit of information. She succeeds at most of her goals, but her sister is killed in the process and her niece rendered an orphan.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Karup, a polar bear, is the leader of a white supremacist gang, and effortlessly beats up his right-hand man. One of Statoc's henchman is a brown bear who beats the crap out of Blacksad with his Rhino friend.
  • Best Served Cold: Jezebel and Dinah have been waiting a long time to enact their vengeance.
  • The Big Easy: The fourth album.
  • Bigot with a Crush: Inverted in Hans Karup's backstory. In the present, he runs a white supremacist organization responsible for lynching black animals, but he was once an incredibly sweet man married to a black-furred woman. The Arctic Nation poisoned his mind, leading him to frequent abuse of his wife while they were still together until he dragged her out of their house in the middle of winter and left her for dead.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Each album ends with one, the most obvious being the third, Red Soul.
  • Blackmail: Statoc's lizard henchman was so disgusted with his murder of Natalia and Leon that he took the gun that Statoc used to blackmail his former boss. He thinks that Blacksad is trying to pull a similar scheme.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Neal the lawyer after he is hit by a bus.
  • Body Guard Crush / Rescue Romance: How Blacksad and Natalia began their relationship. After driving off a Stalker with a Crush, Blacksad used his charms to get in a relationship with Natalia, which lasted a while before they had a falling out.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Oldsmill is a white tiger but his black stripes shouldn't give him any special treatment, however he is rich enough no one in the Arctics want to shun his support.
  • Breather Episode: Amarillo. However, it's solely one for the hurting Blacksad as there is still plenty of murder and mayhem to go around for everyone else. By the end Blacksad doesn't have that much of a good time either.
  • Brick Joke: In the first scene of Amarillo, Abe Greenberg burns his own poetry and says that the place of Chad's novel (written on a roll of paper) is "in a bathroom so people can wipe their ass with it". In the end, Chad ends up leaving the roll in a bathroom of a train station in Chicago, where someone finds it and starts reading it.
  • Broken Bird: Luanne in Amarillo She was forced to have an abortion at a young age to avoid a family scandal.
  • Call-Back:
    • In Red Soul, Blacksad is sufficiently annoyed when he has to attend a Natalia Wilford Look-A-Like contest when doing bodyguard duty for a rich client.
    • The racist comment that pushes Blacksad too far in Amarillo is when the person dissed " That Old Black Magic Called Love", the song that played when he made love with Alma.
  • Carnivore Confusion: We see Karup grilling sausages in a photos, but in a world of sapient animals, one has to wonder what are these sausages made of.
  • Cats Are Mean: Adolf Hitler was a cat (although this is likely a shout-out to Maus). See No Celebrities Were Harmed below. Totally averted by Blacksad and Alma, though.
  • Chekhov's Gun
    • All over the place in Artic Nation. The beauty mark on Dinah, Karup's family pictures where Huk is shown embracing Karup's wife and Karup being around boyscouts sets up the Pedo Hunt and Huk's betrayal, General Lee's sword and Weekly's picture of Huk and Jezebel having sex.
    • "A Silent Hell", Lenoir drops a pamphlet of Life Everlasting.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Abraham Greenberg, a poet and a murder victim in the fifth album, made a cameo reciting his poems in the third one.
  • The Chessmaster: Jezebel had a grand plan indeed.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The dialogue in the English translation of Amarillo is somewhat more profane than the translations of the book before it.
  • Color Motif: The albums themselves, along with their covers:
    • Somewhere Within The Shadows introduces our protagonist and plays out like a straightforward Noir story.
    • Arctic Nation takes place during a snowy winter and largely involves a white supremacist group. Given that this a world of anthropomorphic animals, its members have literal white fur.
    • Red Soul is about the Red Scare, with the title coming from an abstract, red painting.
    • A Silent Hell features both Blacksad almost drowning and a song called "Pizen Blues".
    • Amarillo literally means "yellow", and is The One with... Blacksad going on a sunny roadtrip, while the Deuteragonist of the story is a young lion.
    • And on a series-wide level, the five covers so far have been black, white, and one of each of the primary colors.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Blacksad fights dirty when odds are bad.
  • Continuity Nod: In the inside cover of Red Soul, you see Blacksad releasing the ashes of Cotten near Las Vegas, fulfilling The Promise he made to him in Arctic Nation.
  • Cops Need the Vigilante: Commissioner Smirnov gives Blacksad free rein to avenge Natalia's death after he tried to investigate her murder through the official channels but was quickly shut down when it got too high up. After Blacksad kills the wealthy businessman responsible for the murder in a Vigilante Execution, Smirnov even covers for him by lying right in front of the two employees who saw Blacksad carry out the act. He is not especially proud of it, though.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ivo Statoc is the first one in the series. A self-made-toad who has become the most powerful man in New York and murdered Natalia and her lover. He uses his goons and his money to cover his tracks and shows no remorse for killing Natalia. The second is Faust Lachapelle, who once was selling a faulty drug in Louisiana, resulting in many deaths and birth defects. He bribed the local judges to avoid being sued and decades later still kills anyone who seeks to blow the whistle on him.
  • Cradling Your Kill: In Amarillo, after Chad accidentally caused Neal to get hit by a bus.
  • Cry into Chest: Dinah does this with Blacksad.
  • Cunning Like a Fox:
    • Smirnov's fox lieutenant has a very sly attitude about him.
    • Huk, a polar fox, is scheming to usurp his boss.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Most fights are short and rather brutal. Either the biggest animal wipe the floor with smaller one or the smaller one is armed and sucker punch the big animal.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Dinah, Luanne, Jezebel.
  • Deadly Dodging: Provides the page image.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Blacksad, especially in his inner monologues.
  • Death Glare:
    • One FBI agent to the other when he suggests flipping a coin for who writes the report after having crashed the car.
    • Blacksad himself gives them a lot.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: A result of Blacksad's necessary detainment in Red Soul.
  • Die Laughing: Neal in Amarillo.
  • Disappeared Dad: Amarillo reveals that John and Donna Blacksad's father is still around, but hasn't been in contact with his children for a while except through rare letters.
  • Double Entendre: Ivo Statoc has 'cold blood' in a literal sense and figuratively he professes a cold detachedness.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: The first book begins with a murder scene: the victim is a woman, wearing vaporous night clothing, with one breast exposed. In the flashback to her murder, her night gown was noticeably closed. The writers revealed in a background making-of album that the implication was that the murderer played around with the corpse just for kicks.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Statoc's henchman is not above blackmail or murder (he did charge Blacksad with a knife) but he is a bit more remorseful of the latter than his boss.
    Henchman: Watching someone die is never pleasant, especially how he did it, bastard took his time with Leon...
    • The Arctics are violent white supremacists but they seriously doubt their leader Karup when he is implied to be a pedophile. They end up hanging him when Huk persuades them that the rumors are true, which was part of Jezebel's revenge plan.
  • Expressive Ears: Like their real-life animal counterparts characters ears will go back when they are threatened (or are being threatening), they'll droop when they are sad, and perk up when excited. Blacksad often swivels his ears like a cat does to hear things better.
  • Eye Scream: Huk is killed by a screwdriver through his eye.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Karup in his backstory. Jezebel recalls that her mother told her that Karup was one of the kindest persons she had ever seen, which is why her mother fell in love with him. He eventually wanted to attain power in The Line, and became increasingly racist and abusive over time to blend in with the white elite. He finally completed his Turn when he abandonned his wife in the middle of the woods in winter, causing their eventual daughters to develop an intense hatred for their father and setting up the plot of the novel to get revenge on him.
  • Face Palm: Blacksad after Weekly whistles upon seeing Karup's wife, Jezebel.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The mongoose henchman from the first book makes the mistake of pursuing his target in a reptilian bar, while the bartender did say he will take care of the problem the fact that every patrons including those outside closed in on the henchman implies he entered the wrong bar.
    • What drives the events of Arctic Nation. The neighbourhood "The Line" in which Blacksad tries to find a kidnapped child is the battlefield between two racist groups, the "Arctics" who are white fur supremacists, and the "Claws", a Black Panther expy. The racial tensions in the Line are an important plot point to the story. Played with, because the characters think of literal color over race, so one can find dogs in each group.
    • One character in Amarillo (a parrot) keeps insulting "coloreds" while sharing a car with Blacksad. It takes less than a page for him to get a black eye courtesy of a very pissed-off black cat.
  • Femme Fatale: Surprisingly, mostly averted for a comic so steeped in 1950s Film Noir. Of Blacksad's love interests, Natalia Wilford is The Lost Lenore for Blacksad whose worst crime was being a bit of a vain woman, and Alma Mayer is a Brainy Brunette Nice Girl. Jezebel Karup sort of fits the archetype, but is really a subversion of the trope since the person she seduced to lead him to his doom is not the detective hero but the leader of a racist lynch mob who also happens to be her father.
  • The '50s: Later books made it clear with the second red scare, beatniks and reconstruction of Germany.
  • Film Noir
  • Flashback Effects: Usually, flashbacks are shown in some kind of monochrome - sepia tone or blue-based - to distinguish them from the present. Special mention, though, goes to the effects towards the end of Arctic Nation. The oldest flashbacks look like pure sepia tone photos, but as they approach the present day, they gradually become more and more colored like reality.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In "Arctic Nation", Weekly confuses Karup's wife for his daughter and Jezebel notes that unlike Karup's first black wife he can't just abandon her, Jezebel is Karup's daughter who swore revenge about him literally abandoning his wife in the woods.
    • In "Red Soul", the painting "Red Soul" is said to be sent to Moscow at a later date, it's how Litvak sends the formula for the H-bomb to the communist.
  • Friend on the Force: Commissioner Smirnov.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: The entire cast.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In Somewhere Within The Shadows, Blacksad visits the Cypher Club. A baboon and a leopard are seen arguing in the background (in an inversion, one panel has the two in the foreground, while the focus is on Blacksad in the background). The confrontation goes from shouting in the first panel we see them, to strangling each other in the last...
    • In Red Soul, when Blacksad goes to visit Liebber at Columbia he walks past a row of couples. All the girls instantly take notice of him and when he walks by them a few pages later they're all arguing with their boyfriends for taking such obvious interest in him.
  • Furry Comic: And a damn fine one at that.
  • Furry Confusion: There are many anthropomorphized species in the series, but apparently insects and aquatic species (such as fish and sharks) are not among them as Ivo Statoc collects non-anthro insect specimens and there are aquariums.
  • Furry Denial: After watching a bad sci-fi film, Blacksad comments that he was "relieved to know that humanity had been saved from the terrors of giant ants."
  • Gender Equals Breed: Although it appears that most romances are between members of the same species, this still holds true to a certain extent. For example, Smirnov looks like a German Shepherd, and his wife is some kind of collie. Their children - a little boy and a girl — follow their parents' breeds. And the same for Sebastian and his wife, Hannah - their son looks far more like Sebastian.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: When Blacksad has sex it's implied to be very romantic and fulfilling. Whereas when we see Huk and Jezebel having sex it's shown to be much less wholesome.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Cotten in Arctic Nation.
  • The Grim Reaper: Death himself doesn't show, but Faust LaChapelle dons a costume in his image to go around incognito. Death apparantly looks like a man with a goat skull in the Blacksad universe, merging some of the imagery with that of traditional Western depictions of Satan.
  • Handsome Lech: In the space of one book, Neal hits on three different women.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Blacksad, of course.
  • Heel Realization: Jezebel, once it dawns on her she made her niece an orphan.
  • Heroic Dog: All the cops are canines - nearly all of them dogs, with at least one fox on the force.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Blacksad wants to take the blame for Chad's crimes in order to let him and Luanne be free. But Chad ultimately refuses and surrenders to the police.
  • Hidden Depths: Neal, a lawyer who practices narcissism and womanizing almost as a religion, is shown to be genuinely friendly with Blacksad's kid nephew.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Used by an old lady ape in The Hell, The Silence.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Karup and his wife. Both of his wives.
  • Humanoid Female Animal: Men look like bipedal animals, many female characters almost look like normal humans only with more fur and ears on the head. But only the beautiful women follow the trope — the rest have more variety, like the mouse cleaning lady of the first album, the doe teacher in the second, or the old lady ape in the fourth.
  • The Hyena: Played with in the case of Neal. He laughs at Blacksad's jokes, but when he's stuck in a car between a guy who tells racist jokes and an increasingly angry black cat, his sense of humor takes a leave of absence.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Blacksad struggles with this when confronting Ivo Statoc, subverting it when he does kill him with a bullet to the head.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Blacksad does this to Smirnov's wife.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: In the Arctic Nation album, it is eventually revealed that Chief Karup's greatest crime after he became a white supremacist was to drag his heavily pregnant black wife out of her bed in the middle of the night and leave her behind in the cold winter woods to die. She survived, and his children would grow up yearning for revenge.
  • Implied Death Threat: In the first book, the snake's boss threatens him via mentioning how useless insects are pinned and stuck to a case.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite (almost) everyone being anthro animals, and having many specific issues due to that fact, general history seems mostly unchanged, what with World War II and the Red Scare...
  • Interspecies Romance: Affairs between different species of animal happen as frequently as those between animals of the same species. For instance, Natalia in the first book had an affair with a lion and a toad, Ivo Statoc the most powerful businessman in town. There is also the affair between Jezabel (a bear) and Huk (an arctic fox). There's also the love between Thomas Lachappelle (a goat) and Hannah Fletcher (a dog).
  • Intrepid Reporter: Weekly. He's also a bit of a pervert.
  • It's All About Me: Chad.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans at the end of the fourth album.
  • It's Personal: Natalia's death is personal to Blacksad so it's the only case he investigates without having a client paying him to do so.
  • The Klan: The Arctic Nation is a mix between this and the Nazi Party. At the beginning they wear uniforms resembling Nazi party ones complete with red armbands, and later wear ones resembling those of the KKK. Because this is a World of Funny Animals, they're white fur supremacists.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the beginning of Arctic Nation Blacksad is writing and monologuing about how he should publish his memoirs. Then he looks in the readers direction and mentions that he "Wouldn't be surprised if it ended up published as a detective novel." He was looking at a hanging body, but the 'Leaning' effect is there.
  • Leave The Two Love Birds Alone: Lampshaded and played with in Red Soul. Blacksad jokes that his real reason for throwing Weekly out of his own apartment (to hide Alma from the FBI) probably sounded unbelievable to Weekly, and the weasel probably thinks that he only did so in order to have an intimate moment with Alma. A mere few seconds later, Weekly is actually proven right.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: A pair of human women are seen walking down the street in one panel of Somewhere Within The Shadows.
  • Loony Fan: Natalia was stalked by a florist who sent her hundreds of flowers as well as threatening cards. She hired Blacksad to make it stop and Blacksad quickly found the florist, beat him up, and judging by the giant shears between the legs, threatened to cut off his privates.
  • Love Hurts: In five books, we get to meet several couples, but of these only one is happy and does not suffer from any tragedy: Smirnov and his wife.
  • Love Interests: Blacksad has one in the first and third album. The first example is posthumously, giving Blacksad his motivation for going on a quest for revenge against her killer, the second example is ultimately subverted.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: Jezebel Karup denies sex to her husband Hans because she privately despises him while playing the "good wife" in public. She also carries on an affair with his associate Huk just to humiliate him further. There's a salient reason for this: Unbeknown to him, she's actually his daughter.
  • Male Gaze: In Arctic Nation, Blacksad takes a good look at Dinah through his left-side mirror when she walks away from his car at the drive-in theater. Later she changes clothes in front of him and he notices that she has a patch of white fur on her chest, which actually becomes a plot point later on.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Jezebel. See Batman Gambit for further information.
  • Marrying the Mark: Jezebel goes as far as marrying her own father who she blames for the death of her mother (though she doesn't sleep with him), in order to have him killed by The Klan / A Nazi by Any Other Name movement he's part of. Unfortunately, it ends with the death of her sister.
  • Mature Animal Story: A méchoui is referred as a hate crime.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Alma" means "soul" in Spanish and Italian. The title of the book she appears in is Red Soul.
    • "Jezebel" is a fitting name since it's often used to describe "an impudent, shameless, or morally unrestrained woman."
  • Medication Tampering: In "Silent Hell" Sebastian's heroin dealer is being paid by a man dressed as this world's version of the Grim Reaper to give Sebastian his own heroin. The dealer confesses to Blacksad that Sebastian is likely not gonna survive, likening the dope to rat poison. Weekly finds Sebastian's trail but Blacksad arrives too late to stop him from injecting himself.
  • Meganekko: Alma Mayer.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Smirnov is surprised to see Blacksad in an art gallery, Blacksad is there because his current boss wants to invest in art (who himself fit this trope, commenting his sofa has better pattern than the paintings) as the commissioner is only there because his wife wants their kids to be cultured. Blacksad can appreciate the work put into paintings and enjoys jazz but sees the left leaning intellectuals less like artists and intellectuals but more people that should worry about the black listing and committees.
  • Mighty Whitey: Played with in Arctic Nation. Plus, considering Blacksad himself is a black cat... or more precisely, a black and white cat. Which explains why neither the 'Arctic Nation' nor 'The Black Claws' can stand him. He even makes a smart-ass comment about it; when the Arctic Nation first comes around to harass him, he points to the white patch on his face and says, "What, isn't this enough white for you?". Later when a black horse tries to cover the white patch with black paint, Blacksad very seriously threatens to shoot him in the gut.
  • Mister Big: Elmore Kupka, a diminutive koala bear who not only has a half-interest in the Sunflower Circus (and seems to have the greater influence amongst the performers), but also stars as "Elmore the Clown", a mute tramp-like character playing off his own size for laughs.
  • Morale Event Horizon: By the fifth book, John admits to Weekly that all the misery he's witnessed in his line of work has gotten to him, and he's very close to his own breaking point.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Blacksad walks down a university hallway to very admiring glances from the female students, and extreme disapproval from their boyfriends. When he comes back, the couples are in full argument mode.
  • Murder by Mistake: Intending to assassinate Otto, Ribs kills a similar looking owl, Otero.
  • Murdering the Hypotenuse: Natalia was involved in a Love Triangle with a movie writer named Léon and another man who killed both Natalia and Léon out of spite.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jezebel, after it dawns on her that her revenge has made Kylie, her niece, an orphan.
  • Mysterious Protector: In A Silent Hell, Blacksad is thrown into the sea and almost drowns, but is saved by another mysterious cat with an orange fur and a distinctive siren tatoo on the chest. Blacksad asks who he is but the cat doesn't give any definitive answer before going away, never to be seen again. The endpaper illustration shows Blacksad as a child being dragged out of the water by someone with the same tatoo.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Arctic Nation, an organization of white furred animals who want all the other colors to disappear in "a blizzard". They're a lot like the KKK too, even dressing in almost identical uniforms.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Ribs from Red Soul is a gavial contract killer.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Abe and Chad try to steal a bike from a biker gang, but get caught. Blacksad intervenes to keep the gang from mauling them. They thank him by stealing his car behind his back.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Huk and Rose (the skunk who flirts with Weekly) are just about the only people in the entire series to have a tail...until Amarillo, which introduced a lot of tailed background characters.
  • Odd Couple: Big and stoic Blacksad with excitable and relatively small Weekly. Also the literal cat and dog combo of Blacksad and Smirnov.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In Album one where Statoc's mammal henchman follows the lizard henchman into a predominantly reptile bar. As the reptiles are happy to illustrate: Hairy guys like him are NOT welcome there.
    • Huk in "Arctic Nation" when Karup is about to kick his ass all over the church after Blacksad outs Huk's relationship with the chief's wife.
      Huk: About the cat, you didn't believe anything he- [Karup locks the door]
    • In album five: see Pop the Tires.
  • Once an Episode: Except for the first album, every story has a classic American song in the background ("Strange Fruit," "That Old Black Magic Called Love," "Summertime", and "Road 66")
  • One-Hour Work Week: When he first meets Blacksad, Weekly claims that his articles are of such superior quality that he can get away with only showing up at the office once a week or so, which is how he got the nickname. Later on, he 'fesses up that it's actually because of an office rumor about his bathing habits. Since it's never established one way or the other whether his claim about the amount of time spent in the office is true, it's possible he's encouraged to stay away to save his coworkers from dealing with his...distinctive odor.
  • One Last Smoke: Blacksad offers a dying Mook a cigarette in Somewhere Within The Shadows. The mook happens to be a non-smoker, and instead spends his last moments giving crucial information so that Blacksad can kill the boss who ordered the mook's death.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Otero and Liebber from Red Soul are both renowned owl scientists.
  • Parental Incest: Jezebel's Batman Gambit relies on her marrying Karup, her own father. However, Karup is unaware of her true identity and she refuses to sleep with him..
  • Pedo Hunt: Karup becomes the victim of this. See below.
  • Pedophile Priest: Karup is the director of the church's children choir. He may or may not be a pedophile... point is, by the end all the townsfolk, and the members of the local KKK analogue, believe it.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Weekly's role in the story is mostly to provide the bulk of the more lighthearted moments. Case in point, after closing the case of Kyle's kidnapping, Blacksad's day is brightened by Weekly's funny confession about his nickname.
  • Poisonous Friend:
    • Abraham Greenberg to Chad Lowell. To quote the writers, the only thing Chad learns from Abe is autodestruction.
    • Chad himself. Kills one of his two best friends in a fit of rage, and accidentally pushes the other in front of a bus.
  • Pop the Tires: Successfully used by one of the FBI agents in Amarillo, only for the target car to veer out of control and into their own car's way.
    Both FBI agents: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
  • Posthumous Character: Natalia Wilford and Leon Kronski in the first album. The entire plot of said album revolves around Blacksad tracking down Natalia's killer and avenging her death.
  • Precious Puppies: Smirnov's children and Sebastian's son, all puppies, are quite cute.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: In the first story, even though Blacksad's old flame was murdered via a shot to the head, there's only a bit of blood and a small hole instead of brains and stuff being splattered all over the wall…
    • … which might be explained by the fact that she was lying down on her bed and the shot was downwards. The nastiness would have splattered the pillow under her head rather than the wall.
    • Played straight when he shoots Ivo Statoc in the head, while the target is standing up and facing him. There's barely any blood where the victim lands.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Naturally.
    • Lampshaded at the start of Arctic Nation, when Blacksad notes his memoirs would read like a detective novel.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Faust LaChapelle from "A Silent Hell" will never be punished for his crimes while he was a Snake Oil Salesman, as everybody who could expose him is either dead or a nobody without a voice. However, Faust's guilt is also consuming him, he has alienated his own son, and is dying of a congenital disease anyway.
  • The Promise: Blacksad's promise to Cotten.
  • Rage Breaking Point: In "Amarillo", Blacksad (an anthropomorphic black cat) and Neal (a hyena) hitch a ride with a racist parrot who keeps making derogatory remarks about "niggers" before smugly adding a "Just Joking" Justification. Blacksad tries to ignore it at first, but eventually reaches over to give the driver a black eye.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: the two FBI agents from the third book were reassigned to Albuquerque, New Mexico sometime before the fifth book, which they blame on Blacksad.
  • Red Herring: One that does not last long in Arctic Nation, Black Claws are blaming the son of a rich white tiger who have kidnapped a girl that is rumored to be his daughter. The father laughs it off as saying that no women will sleep with his son, who is a mentally retarded cheetah, and even muses that the kidnapped girl might be Karup's. He's off by one generation.
  • Red Scare: Red Soul deals with the Red Scare with Blacksad being embroiled in a communist conspiracy and getting in trouble with the law for being associated with them. The individual communists are presented in a better light than the communist hunters, though the suspicions of them spying for the Soviets are very true.
  • Redemption Equals Death: When Cotten threatens to tell the rest of Arctic Nation about the kidnapping he is promptly shot.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
    • Played straight in the first album; one of Ivo Statoc's henchmen is a lizard. He does get something of an Alas, Poor Villain moment though.
    • Ribs, the henchman of third album, is a croc. However, averted with Hewitt Mandoline, Blacksad's first employer in the same story, who despite looking a bit like a Nouveau Riche is a nice person.
  • Rescue Romance:
    • This is the nature of Blacksad's past relationship with the deceased Natalia Wilford, as he helped her get rid of a stalker. They started a relationship afterwards but it wore off after some time, and they broke up before her untimely death.
    • Chad and Luanne may also count in book five: though they already flirted with each other before, their relationship really picks up after each of them saves the other's life once.
  • Rhino Rampage: One of Ivo Statoc's enforcers in the first album is an enormous Rhino. Blacksad notes that it's like trying to hit a locomotive.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: All the children. Kylie, the little Zebra who plays with her, the children in Karup's choir, Smirnov's puppies, and Ray, Blacksad's nephew. And, despite not being a kid, Weekly.
  • Scenery Porn: This series is gorgeous.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: After offering Blacksad to come work for him instead of pursuing his revenge fails, Statoc instead tries to buy him off. Blacksad rejects him again and makes a point of defying Statoc's attempt to invoke this trope.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Arctic Nation when Blacksad is crouching on a roof overlooking the city his silhouette SCREAMS Batman. Down to his very Batman hood-looking ears.
    • Several to Porgy and Bess in album four.
    • In the fourth album, in an establishing shot of New Orleans, Ignatius J. Reilly can be seen disapproving of the whole thing.
    • The members of Sebastian's old band in A Silent Hell - a dog, a mule, a rooster, and a cat - are a clear nod to the German folktale of the "Musicians of Bremen", who were animals of the exact same species.
    • The leader of the biker gang in the fifth album is a Shout-Out to Marlon Brando's character in The Wild One.
    • In the third book, Blacksad's boss is looking at a modern painting, imitating Norman Rockwell's The Connoisseur.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Delivered non-verbally via headshot.
  • Sidekick: Weekly from the second album onward, Neal in the fifth album.
  • Significant Anagram: Leon Kronski is killed and buried under the name of "Noel Krisnok" to hide his true identity.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: All Alma wants is a dedicated man who will take her to Niagara Falls.
  • Sleeping with the Boss's Wife: Hans Karup's wife Jezebel is having an affair with Huk, his second-in-command in the Arctic Nation, the white supremacist cult they're both part of. Huk uses unsubstantiated allegations that Karup is a pedophile to engineer his betrayal and execution by his followers, even whispering that he'll take good care of Jezebel after he's gone. This backfires on Huk, as Jezebel later kills him for becoming too much of a loose cannon in her own years-long scheme against Karup.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism:
    • Blacksad looks far more anthropomorphic than most characters. Sexy ladies are even more anthropomorphic.
    • Inversely, the circus folk from the fifth album were deliberately drawn much less anthropomorphic than the rest of the characters, to emphasize their status as outcast freaks.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Hannah singing "Summertime" to her baby as Blacksad races to find Sebastian dead of an overdose. Or a poisoning, as it's mentioned that his sellers were ordered to sell him rat poison instead of heroine.
  • Stalker with a Crush: When Blacksad meets her Natalia is harassed by a stalker, and hires Blacksad to get rid of him. Blacksad does so by shoving a gun in the guy's mouth and threatening to kill him.
  • The Starscream: Huk the polar fox to Karup.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • In "Arctic Nation", Huk, a canine member of the Arctic Nation is in an affair with the leader's wife. Weekly catches them having sex from behind i.e. "Doggy Style".
    • In "Amarillo", a bus driver who appears in a couple of panels at the Greyhound bus station is a greyhound.
  • Stepford Smiler: Samuel Gotfield is a Type C before he goes completely mental.
  • Stout Strength: Ted Leeman, the corrupt hippo detective in The Hell, The Silence seems like a sweaty, obese sloth whose bark is worse than his bite. When Blacksad outsmarts him and reveals himself, Leeman unleashes a brutal beating on Blacksad to show his immense strength.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Invoked by Jezebel, who told Huk that Hans Karup, despite being an outspoken white supremacist in public, was secretly screwing their black maid. He wasn't, but given how deeply racist Huk himself is, this might have played into his motivation for having Karup framed and killed.
  • Surprise Incest: Hans Karup unknowingly married one of his own daughters after she came of age. She was actually aware of their family relationship, and wouldn't let him touch her. The marriage was in fact all part of a decades-long revenge plot to hurt him for previously leaving their mother to her death.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Statoc's building seemed pretty easy to break into. Although this may reflect Statoc's confidence that he could sway Blacksad with money.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Played with in the album "Arctic Nation". Jezebel refuses her husband Karup sexual relations, knowing full well that she's pretty much a social status symbol for the WASP police chief. She then seduces Karup's right-hand man Huk, telling him that Karup is actually cheating on her with their black maid Dinah. None of this is true: Jezebel and Dinah are sisters, and Karup's daughters. It's all part of a decades-long revenge scheme against their father for having left their mother to her death.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: By the end of Amarillo, Chad has directly or indirectly caused four deaths.
  • Those Two Guys: the FBI agents from the third album, who reappear in the fifth.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ivo Statoc, gloating and mocking someone for having standards is not the smartest of move. His assassin even says that he would not have gone through if he was not so smug about it.
  • Tragic Villain: The lizard henchman of the first volume. Most of his background implies he was just a guy from the ghetto who got hired to be a valet for a man he despised. Then he saw a gruesome murder that gave him finally a chance to blackmail himself a cozy life, which Blacksad seems to have planned that too (the henchman never realized Blacksad's motives to investigate). He ends up lamenting that while his boss was a Sore Loser, himself was just a loser.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-Universe, the turtle Blacksad is bodyguarding makes some less-than-enlightened comments as to modern art, to the disapproval of the gallery owner.
  • Turtle Power: Hewitt, Blacksad's old and rich employer in Las Vegas. He is a nice laid back tortoise with a badass cat to do the running for him.
  • Use Your Head: Blacksad pulls this on an attacker in Somewhere Within The Shadows. It is very effective.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Jezebel Karup sets up a years-long revenge scheme against her abusive father for leaving her mother to her death, even marrying him as part of the plan, then framing him as a child molester so the town will lynch him. However, in the process she ends up making her niece an orphan, nearly gets said niece killed as well, and at the end of the day none of it will ever bring her own mother back. As Blacksad confronts her over all the collateral damage she's caused, she seems to have a Heel Realization:
    I feel so... cold.
  • Villain Respect: Ivo Statoc shows his respect to Blacksad for having the wits and brawns to pass through his security detail and proposes to hire him, regardless of the fact that he murdered Blacksad's old flame.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Pizen Blues" turned out to be this. It's the story of how a Snake Oil Salesman ended up causing massive poisoning, birth difformities and stillborn, using his wealth the salesman escaped law and renamed himself Faust Lachapelle, now a band producer who shamelessly exploited two musicians with birth defects from his past and had one sent to jail to cover his past.
  • Visual Pun: Ivo Statoc makes a big point to Blacksad about how much of a "cold-blooded" bastard he truly is. He's a toad.
  • War Is Hell: Subtly implied by Blacksad in Amarillo, when he mentions that he went to Europe without getting any good memories.
  • We Can Rule Together: Ivo Statoc tries to offer Blacksad a job in his employ when he's finally tracked him down and already dispatched his bodyguards; Blacksad refuses.
  • What Have I Done: Quoted pretty much word for word by Luanne after she kills her coworker (and would-be rapist) to save Chad.
  • Wicked Weasel:
    • Averted with Weekly; he's The Pigpen, but he's a good guy.
    • Played straight with the snide weasel henchman in Arctic Nation.
  • Wolf Whistle: in both cases, Blacksad's sidekick is whistling at a woman he shouldn't be looking at too closely:
    • In Arctic Nation, Weekly upon seeing Jezebel.
    • In Amarillo, Neal upon seeing Donna.
  • World of Funny Animals: The world of Blacksad is pretty much America in the 50's, except that everyone is an animal. Not that much of a funny world since the series also features a lot of the bad side of the 50's like racial tensions, the Red Scare and so on.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: "The Line", which used to be prosperous during World War II. Then the armaments factories shut down and the district collapsed.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The bar patron who helps Blacksad track down Leon Kronski and tries to kill him, turning out to be working for Statoc, is a rat. Blacksad (who's a cat) notes that he's always mistrusted rats in his internal monologue.
  • You Killed My Mother: This is what drives Jezebel.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Statoc reminds Blacksad that he's not the sort of person who would shoot someone in cold blood, and so can't pull the trigger. He is quickly proven wrong. Blacksad also notes that without the jolt of contempt he felt from Statoc's upfront taunting, he probably wouldn't have pulled the trigger.


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