Review: Down to the Bone

Artist(s): Ralf König.

Two years ago, Ralf Konig’s The Killer Condom was republished in English. I’m very happy to see that its sequel has now also been translated. Down To The Bone1 (Bis auf die Knochen, 1990, the title is translated literally) brings back the gay detective Luigi Macaroni…and an even more deadly form of man-eating creature.

In this second (and twice as long as the first one) adventure, Macaroni is faced with an even more odious case: skeletons are found—very well cleaned skeletons of men who were recently in good health, including the owner of a gay bar. Macaroni doesn’t live anymore with the young guy from the first book and seems to have gone back to his use of hustlers. Lumley, his very uptight, straight colleague, doesn’t like that one bit.

Macaroni and Billy about to enjoy each other

The last person seen with the gay bar owner is a young porn star named Billy Bullcock (no, really). It doesn’t take a long time for Macaroni to realize that 1/ Billy has nothing to do with all this, and 2/ Billy is far more interesting a person than his profession might lead one to fear. The two men begin an unlikely but sincere rapprochement, as the mystery deepens.
Ralf König has written a story which is as much a remake as a sequel to The Killer Condom, but it’s a remake where everything is done better, where the characters are more developed. A bit like Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, but then I prefer the first film. Anyway. Back to König. This time, the origin of the infamous condom will be shown (alongside other cannibal creatures), a seemingly straight guy will discover that he enjoys certain activities practiced between men, and an unusual love story will begin.

If König often shows a strong sense of dark humor in most of his stories, here he’s in a romantic mood that contrasts with the more outrageous elements of this mystery/fantasy story. One might even says that he follows the patterns of mainstream adventure fiction, but with one difference: we get far more gay, sexually active characters in this story. I certainly won’t complain about that.

  1. This 112-page book is published by Ignite! Entertainment, and you can find it at Amazon.
    I haven’t seen this English version and I write this review from the French translation. From the pages of the first book I’d seen, it’s well done.

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