Sterrenrood, by “Willy Vandersteen” [Peter De Gucht]

The latest of the long-running Belgian Suske en Wiske comic strip series, in this case largely told as a flashback to an Antwerp emigrant ship sailing for America in what may be the 1930s (though there is one piece of evidence that it is set in 1893), whose passengers and crew include some characters who look amazingly similar to our contemporary heroes. It’s not bad at all, actually; the 1930s Suske is an Eastern European migrant, and there is some realistic social commentary on the hard times of the 1930s. There is, however, only one black person on the ship, a jazz musician; and the plot of recovering a stolen diamond is fairly standard, if with a couple of nice tweaks. The new Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp have got their money’s worth.

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