Graphic novel recommendation: Casanova Book 1: Luxuria

Picture 4-71 In Casanova Book 1: Luxuria, the people of Earth are under the control of E.M.P.I.R.E.'s (Extra-Military Police Intelligence, Rescue, and Espionage) Cornelius Quinn, a tough-as-molybdenum son-of-a-bitch with a huge body, a little head and not much more empathy for his charges than the enemy he's sworn to defeat, W.A.S.TE. (an acronym that changes meaning at the whim of its insane bandage-faced leader, Newman Xeno).

Quinn has a loyal daughter, Zephyr, and a ne'er-do-well son, Casanova, a partying lothario who resembles a cross between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Zephyr is a respected agent of E.M.P.I.R.E., while twin brother Cass has worked as hard at making his father disappointed in him as he has at being a creep-for-hire.

Shortly after Zephyr dies on a mission, Xeno kidnaps Cass and inserts him into an alternate space-time where his sister is the black sheep and Cass is was good son (who got killed on a mission, just as his sister did back on the other Earth). Xeno orders Cass to destroy E.M.P.I.R.E. while making it look like he's still on their side. It's not as easy as Cass thinks at first, what with the torture his sister enjoys inflicting on him and the hard time his father gives him for suddenly becoming into something of a screw-up. (After all, the Cornelius Quinn in this dimension doesn't know that his good son has been replaced by this work-shirking hustler from an alternate universe, who's trying his best to keep up the ruse.)

Plenty of freakish and fun villains (my favorite is the Kirby-esque Fabula Berserko -- "a big mutant brain... three monks that practiced some form of occult Zen for so long they fused together in a wad) and weird scenes, like an island where sexual orgone energy fuels non-stop orgies with sentient sex robots and humans, give this darkly-humored science fiction a quirky kick. It also introduced me to the respectable talents of Matt Fraction (Author) and Gabriel Ba (Author).

(This edition collects Casanova #1-7.) Link


  1. I love this series, s’my favorite thing running regularly right now. The current arc “When is Casanova Quinn?” has been specTACular.

  2. A good book. But if there isn’t a recommendation for Atomic Robo when the trade comes out (I’m thinking before the end of May), I’ll be upset, cause that book is more fun than a barrel of robot monkeys.

  3. Casanova is beyond fantastic.

    It’s exciting, smart and still manages, somehow amidst all the Self-Made-Buddhas, the Giant WWII Japanese Robots and the Psychic Battles at Dawn on the island of Agua Pesada, to retain its heart.

    Matt Fraction’s writing is like Pop Pulp for the Facebook generation. It’s smart, witty, filled with references to everything from Multiple World Quantum Theory and the Eels to KUBARK to Mountain Goats and an abundance of others.

    Gabriel Bá’s, and on the current arc/album, Fabio Moon’s, his twin-brother, art is delightful and strong. Just look at the silent pages in the first couple of issues or the Ana Nisi Masa/Miss Alpha therapy sessions in the Secret Cinema issue.

    I love it.

  4. Casanova is completely amazing, perhaps the best comic running right now (since Morrison only writes All-Star Superman when the hash aliens tell him to).

    Slight correction – that should read Gabriel Ba (artist).

  5. Mark, did you proofread this article? It doesn’t look like it:

    …while twin brother Cass has worked as hard at making his father disappointed in him as he has at being a creep-for-hire… (got propositions?)

    …where his sister is the black sheep and Cass is was good son…

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