Graphic Novel Review: The Treasure of the Black Swan by Guillermo Corral and Paco Roca

The Treasure of the Black Swan by Guillermo Corral and Paco Roca. Translated by Andrea Rosenberg. Fantagraphics, 2022. 9781683965787. 224pp.

2007. The “Black Swan” is located in the Straight of Gibraltar by Ithaca Deep Sea, and it contains the largest submerged treasure ever found. The treasure hunters relocate everything taken from the wreck to Florida and set about hiring lawyers to make their claim for keeping it all. They refuse to reveal the ship’s location or to identify it.

Alex Ventura, working for Spain’s Ministry of Culture’s Chief of Staff, head’s to Heritage Service where he meets an archivist, Elsa, who seems to have the best idea about what’s going on. Together with a lawyer, Jonas Gold, the pair start researching ships in order to identify the one that was found in order to prove it was Spanish and to try to reclaim Spain’s property.

This is a tale of research, legalities, and history brought to life by Roca’s stunning art. The book is mostly conversations, and Roca is amazing at making these compelling –though the graphic novel is particularly stunning when it’s not it shows bits of history and the underhanded way the wreck was found.

Worth noting: This is work of fiction based on events witnessed firsthand by career diplomat / writer Corral, who has worked both in Spain and abroad.


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