Written by Shane Filer & Illustrated by Candelaria Carballo & Ricardo Villagran
Silent film icon Louise Brooks drifts through a single self-destructive night in 1920s Berlin; seeking a mysterious gift, she brushes paths with the city of sex’s inhabitants, present and future, and ultimately… herself, in a darkly reimagined biographic fairy tale.
"Berlin. The whores of Kurfürstendamm; an enticing mélange of seasoned professionals, underage girls, or secretaries supplementing their income; the end-result of too many women and not enough money—or men, post-Great War. Colorful candles melting into light and dark, though never gray."
Louise Brooks is Edna St. Vincent Millay’s candle that burned at both ends; the shining light of the twenties extinguished.
Fiercely intelligent and independent, she left Kansas in 1922 at 15 to realize her dream of becoming a dancer, drifted into acting, and left a trail of men, rebellion and self-sabotage in her wake.
At the height of her career, Louise Brooks was not a household name. She spent decades of later life in a purgatory-hell of poverty and gin.
Her iconic status today is entirely retrospective.
Rediscovered and reassessed thanks to the two movies she made in Berlin during the artistic, literary, and musical renaissance that bloomed ever so briefly in Germany’s Weimar Republic:
Diary Of A Lost Girl and Pandora’s Box.
Her effortless incarnation of silent corrupt sensuality, mesmerizing to watch.
Who was Louise Brooks?
What were the sexual loves and hates and conflicts she was unable to face?
Like pebbles thrown into a pond; did the ripples of childhood trauma keep on getting bigger?
This is not a biography.
Nor is it entirely fiction.
It is Dreamchild by Dennis Potter. It is The Doors by Oliver Stone.
Through fantasy, a glimpse of truth.
“I have been taking stock of my 50 years since I left Wichita in 1922 at the age of 15 to become a dancer with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. How I have existed fills me with horror. For I have failed in everything -- spelling, arithmetic, riding, tennis, golf; dancing, singing, acting; wife, mistress, whore, friend. Even cooking. And I do not excuse myself with the usual escape of 'not trying.' I tried with all my heart.”
As Long as I can remember I’ve had a pencil in my hand reimagining my favorite characters or creating my own.
I discovered Nordic folk legends as a teenager and my notebooks started to be flooded with scary mermaids, fairies, and all kind of magical creatures next to badass epic warrior women. We can even add my love of pop culture (whether it be movies, comics, books or animes) to this fantasy craziness and we have my main influences and inspiration.
Those influences took me to the acclaimed Colon Theater Institute of Advanced Studies in Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina, as soon as I finished high school, where I graduated as a Theatrical Character Artist.
I believe stories can change lives... crazy huh?
Storytelling’s a primal desire central to human existence; from animal shapes scratched in plant-pigmented paint on ancient cave walls, to oral histories handed down through generations, to compulsive Netflix dramas playing out over years. Just as the brain detects patterns in the visual forms of nature – a face, a figure, a flower – and in sound, so too it detects patterns in information.
A few comic book writers had a profound influence on me (Alan Moore was one, Pat Mills and John Wagner two others), in that they showed the absolute power a writer welds to make a story, or character – any character – complex and engaging, or conversely, average and forgettable.
My first novel, Exit, was published in the US by Ohio University Press and a short story collection followed. I've written a half-dozen issues of the long running UK comic “Commando” (published since 1961), and in doing so managed to create stories my 12 year old self would have enjoyed. I also got to work with artists I admired as a kid like Carlos Pino and Vicente Alcazar.
Stories are recognizable patterns, and in those patterns we find meaning.
Can comics change lives? Sure, if the creators make it so.