Showing posts with label comic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comic. Show all posts

Friday, August 12, 2016

Q&A With Author Christa Faust About Peepland From Titan Comics


I was able to get to ask a few questions of iconoclastic novelist Christa Faust about her upcoming noir comic Peepland, to come out from Titan Comics on October 12th. Faust burst onto the fiction scene in the late 90s with the horror/crime/erotic novel Control Freak and then with the collaboration with Poppy Brite on Triads. More recently Faust has explored the noir genre with the Angel Dare mysteries for Hard Case Crime and the Butch Fatale, Dyke Dick mysteries.




The Hard Case Crime mystery fiction imprint is expanding into comics with Titan Comics. One of the first releases will be the autobiographical noir series Peepland, co-authored by Faust.


Dorkland! Blog: What is it about noir that makes it interesting for you as a creator?

Christa Faust: I’ve never been a big fan of “whodunnits.” I’m much more interested in the type of stories I call “whydunnits.” There may be a murder or some other form of crime that drives the plot, but the real story is about the characters involved in or affected by that crime, their inner struggles and the ways in which they come unraveled under pressure. I’ve also never been interested in saintly, flawless heroes and dastardly, irredeemable villains. Noir lets you explore those ambiguous, overlapping gray areas that exist inside of everyone.

DLB: What is it about noir that gives it a lasting appeal to audiences?

CF: I love to read noir for a lot of the same reasons I love to write it. We see our own flaws and foibles reflected in those kinds of gray-shaded characters. We’re living in dark and uncertain times and, for a lot of readers, stories full of darkness and uncertainty feel more authentic and relatable.

DLB: Does noir work better in a "historical" or contemporary milieu?

CF: I don’t see it as an either/or thing, because I like it both ways. The theme of ordinary, flawed characters who get mixed up in criminal endeavors, make bad decisions and get in over their heads is one that has an appeal no matter what the setting. I do think there’s an unfortunate perception that noir all is about fedoras and shadows and seamed stockings and that really needs to be debunked. See, there’s nothing wrong with those things, in fact I’m a huge fan of classic mid-century noir, but those things are ultimately just set dressing. You can write noir in which everybody wears fedoras or tricorn hats or trucker hats, but what matters is what’s going on underneath those hats.


DLB: What were some of the autobiographical elements to Peepland?

CF: I grew up in Hell’s Kitchen on 45th street and 9th avenue, just west of Times Square. I worked in the peep booths back in the late 80s and I always wanted to write about those days because I’d never seen that environment portrayed in a way that accurately reflected my own experience. The character of Roxy is a lot like me at that age, but more than that, Peepland is a love letter to the gritty, sleazy and long gone city that raised me and made me who I am today.

DLB: What would have been the best and worse parts to working a "peep show" booth?

CF: The best part was all the quirky characters and fascinating stories. By the time I left to start working full time as a professional Dominatrix in 1990, I had collected enough inspiration to write a hundred books. The worst part was being subjected to insipid pop music for hours on end. Also, I’m a little claustrophobic so long sessions stuck inside that tiny booth were a bit of a drag.


DLB: What does the voice of a female protagonist bring to noir?

CF: The female characters in so much noir fiction, film or comics exist primarily to arouse lust, require rescue or fuel vengeance on the part of the male protagonists. Always the Femme Fatale or the Lost Angel, but either way we never got to hear her side of the story. I think giving noir a female voice helps to reinvigorate the genre and ultimately broadens the audience. I’m always looking to find ways to appeal both to women who think they don’t like noir and men who think they don’t like female protagonists. I like to lure readers out of their comfort zones, make them question everything, and see the world through a different set of eyes.

DLB: What about Peepland would appeal to comic readers? What would appeal to fans of noir?

CF: I’m a newbie in the comic world, and Peepland is my first comic project, so I don’t really have enough experience yet to say with any kind of authority what does or doesn’t appeal to comic readers. I will say that it’s a very visual story that relies heavily on the evocation of its vintage setting and I hope that Andrea Camerini’s gritty, realistic depiction of the New York City streets where I grew up will appeal to comic fans. And noir fans like me are all about the story, so I know this story is right up their dark alley.


DLB: What part of Peepland are you most interested in seeing the readers react to?

CF: The setting, no doubt. So many young people have only ever known the gentrified, outdoor mall version of Times Square, so I really want to share my own personal memories and experiences with them. I also hope to hear from New Yorkers my own age who will remember and appreciate all the little details, references and in-jokes from that era.

DLB: What challenges are there to telling a story through a comic book that you don't have in a novel?

CF: All the usual stuff, like learning how to think in panels instead of scenes and trying to find ways to translate my vision onto the page in collaboration with an artist, but hardest part for me personally was the dialog. I love listening to people talk and I pick up on regional accents and verbal quirks like a parrot. As a novelist, dialog is my superpower. But I learned pretty quick that you can’t have long, nuanced conversations in comics. One character can say one thing, and then the other can say one thing and the first can maybe say one more very short thing back, but that’s it. You can’t fit a zillion word balloons into one panel and you can’t have panel after panel of talking heads. You need to get the point across in as few words as possible and then move on.

DLB: How different was your process for working with a collaborator?

CF: Of course it was different but in this case, it was absolutely essential. I didn’t have the first clue how to write a comic script before this project and my co-author Gary Phillips (The Rinse, Cowboys) is an old pro. He’s the crafty veteran while I’m the mouthy, impulsive rookie. Plus, a lot of his work deals with the same themes that I wanted to explore in Peepland, such as corruption and gentrification. I just knew he’d be the perfect tag team partner and by working together, we wound up with a much better story than either one of us could have created alone.

DLB: What is next on the agenda?

CF: I’m currently working on the third Angel Dare novel. It’s called The Get Off and is set in the world of rodeo bullfighters. I spent two years traveling around with those guys and getting to know their daily grind. It was a lot like visiting another planet for this New York City girl. When (some days it feels more like if!) I get that one in the can, I’m wide open to take on something new and different. Guess we’ll see…


Times Square, 1986: the home of New York’s red light district where strip clubs, porno theatres and petty crime prevails. 

When a chance encounter for Peepbooth worker Roxy Bell leads to the brutal murder of a public access pornographer, the erotic performer and her punk rock ex-partner Nick Zero soon find themselves under fire from criminals, cops, and the city elite, as they begin to untangle a complex web of corruption leading right to city hall.

Like The Naked City, there are eight million stories in The Deuce. This is one of them.

Be sure to pick up your copy of the first issue of Peepland by Christa Faust and Gary Phillips at your friendly local comic store brought to us by the Hard Case Crime comics from Titan Comics on October 12, 2016.



Monday, August 04, 2014

Tampa Bay Comic Con

I went to the Sunday of Tampa Bay Comic Con yesterday and I had a really good time at the convention. I'm working up a more detailed piece about it for Bleeding Cool, but my initial impressions were really good ones. I saw some great cosplayers in some spectacular costumes, I got to meet some great local comic creators and I even was able to see my friend +Norbert Cartagena and his niece (who I now feel guilty that I don't remember her name). I also got to meet artist, writer and designer Jim Steranko and writer Nick Cuti (co-creator of the comic character E-Man with Joe Stanton!).

I had a really good time, and the show opened my eyes to a local community of comics creators that I admit that I didn't know about before now. However, I've got some great comics that I picked up at the convention to rectify that situation, and I got a lot of business cards and email addresses of publishers, writers and artists. I am very excited about this, and I am excited about the things that I will be getting to write about. Expect to start hearing more about all of this both here at the Dorkland! blog and over at Bleeding Cool as well.

I was also finally able to meet with Cullen Bunn face to face. We've talked before on Twitter, and I ran an interview with him here on the blog about being a gamer. He and I talked for a bit about comics and gaming, and how he might be going to Gen Con again this year. We can only hope.


More to come!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

12th Doctor Comic Coming This October From Titan Comics

Eagle award-winning writer Robbie Morrison (Drowntown, The Authority, 2000AD, Nikolai Dante) and New York Times-bestselling artist Dave Taylor (Batman: Death by Design, 2000AD) dive headfirst into the TARDIS console room and spin the new Doctor off to his most challenging destination yet!

As with the Tenth and Eleventh Doctor ranges, Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor #1 comes with a beautiful regular cover painted by Alice X. Zhang, plus five other variants - including a "100% rebel Time Lord" photo cover and Mariano Laclaustra penned picture of Clara.

With the amazing storyline and fantastic interior art under lock and key at the time of going to press ­keep an eye on doctorwho.tv, titan-comics.com and the official BBC Doctor Who Facebook page for the official announcements!

Doctor Who: The Twelfth Doctor is available to pre-order from comic stores tomorrow and will hit retailers on October 1.  Due to licensing restrictions,  fans in the UK and Ireland can only purchase this comic digitally.

Titan Comics' new Tenth and Eleventh Doctor ranges will hit comic book stores on July 23, and print or digital editions are available to pre-order now - for more information, visit titan-comics.com.




Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Shepherd: A Fantasy Comic Book Kickstarter

I've done quite a few RPG Kickstarter posts on Dorkland! so far, but this is a first for me -- a comic Kickstarter. And what an excellent comic to start with: The Shepherd by Nathan Sage and Ron Joseph.


The Shepherd is a one-shot comic that focuses on the story of Astrid (the shepherd) and the hard choices she has to make when confronted with a legendary beast that has been wounded and the obsessive hunter that is tracking it.

The art seems to be quite beautiful -- just look at the image below to get a taste of it -- and the world seems to be quite intriguing. A mixture of fantasy, mythology and maybe a dash of post-apocalyptic, is what I am getting from it.


But, you likely want to know the pricing involved, right? Sure you do. Well, for starters, if you're looking to get a digital copy of the comic (as well as a few more goodies) you can hop on for $5. For a physical copy of the comic you'll be starting at $10. Going beyond that is an assortment of various goods -- most notably prints, cards and t-shirts -- that will be added on with the comic. Easy to get in on and the sky is the limit for any extras you might crave.

The Kickstarter page has even more artwork to check out from the comic, as well as information on the talent behind the comic and some of their work, which is well worth checking out.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Demon Knights 16

Even though Paul Cornell (of Doctor Who and a multitude of comics from both Marvel and DC Comics), has moved on from the book he created for DC Comics' New 52, the Demon Knights continues under the writing of Robert Venditti (of X-O Manowar and the indie comic Surrogates, which was made into that Bruce Willis movie that you may have seen).

Demon Knights #16 kicks off a new story and a new creative team. Decades have passed since the action of Cornell's run on the book, and the Demon Knights (at least in the beginning of the issue) are no more. Once again, with Demon Knights we have a fantasy book woven into the tapestry of the new DC Universe. Familiar characters of Horsewoman, The Shining Knight and Exoristos all reappear early in the book.

The menace of the story comes from the recently cancelled I...Vampire book, with Cain, the first vampire of the new DC Universe, crossing Europe with a growing army of vampires. They are moving across the world, searching for Themyscira (the name of the island probably best known as Wonder Woman's Paradise Island), so that he can add the Amazons to his undead army of vampires and conquer the world. Obviously the Demon Knights will have to band together again and stop him.

The one flaw to doing a fantasy story in a fictional world's past, rather than in some alternate dimension like with the Amethyst stories, is that you know that the heroes stopped things because of the fact that the current world isn't being run by vampires. That does take away a bit of the drama of the story, for me at least. However, Venditti does an excellent job of working with the tools that he has in this comic. Cornell's initial run on Demon Knights was one of the high points of the New 52 from DC Comics for me, and Venditti does not disappoint with his follow up. He has big shoes to fill but he steps right into them with a story arc that looks to be every bit as epic as those done under the previous writing team.

Bernard Chang's art is very good in this book, as well. His characters are well drawn and their faces are expressive and emotive. His action imparts a feeling of action and movement onto the page. Weirdly, when I picked up this issue I thought that Chang's cover had a certain Kevin O'Neil (of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Marshall Law fame) quality to it. That didn't extend to the interior art.

Is this comic worth picking up? I say yes. Robert Venditti and Bernard Chang have created a compelling and engaging second act to a comic book that was one of the best of DC Comics' relaunch. It is a comic that I want to keep reading and buying. I hope, with the continued success of fantasy-oriented books from DC Comics like Demon Knights and Sword of Sorcery that we will get to see the return of further fantasy characters from the DC catalog like Travis Morgan, Warlord.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Planet Death Is Coming To X-O Manowar

X-O Manowar #9 brings to a head the plots that have been building in the previous issues. The Planet Death story arc is about The Vine (the aliens from which Aric took the X-O armor and escaped from their captivity) overtly coming to Earth to regain their armor.

The art in this issue from Trevor Hairsine is nothing less than brilliant. It reminds the reader of the Barry Windsor-Smith art of the original series, while making it his own at the same time. I have to admit that this is my first exposure to Hairsine's art. I read the first couple of issues of X-O Manowar and then let it slide off of my radar. From this issue, this was a mistake.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Valiant Preview: Shadowman #3 Explores the Depths of Deadside

I haven't shown a Valiant Comics preview in a while, so I thought that I would go with Shadowman #3. The "old" Shadowman had some cool stuff to it, particularly in the revamped version by Garth Ennis, that it looks like this run is borrowing from. I think there's some cool stuff to be found, particularly for gamers in this preview.

The Stuff From Valiant
Valiant is proud to present an advance preview of Shadowman #3 by acclaimed creators Justin Jordan (The Legacy of Luther Strode) and Patrick Zircher (Captain America, Hulk)! Shadowman's first clash with the minions of Master Darque is about to cross the border between worlds and spill into the terrifying way station between our reality and the next… Welcome to the uncanny dominion known as Deadside!
 
Trapped in the Deadside with no hope of rescue, Jack Boniface is on the run from the otherworldly horrors that dwell there. Meanwhile, his new friends and allies are at the mercy of Mr. Twist, whose plan to restore Master Darque is very nearly complete. But Jack is about to find help from some very strange and very unexpected sources… Could a light from Jack's past could still be shining in the depths of the Deadside's darkness?
 
On January 9th, the true scope of Shadowman's role in the Valiant Universe will stand revealed as Jack Boniface confronts the source of the unassailable evil that plagues his city, only in Shadowman #3 – in stores the same day as the Shadowman #1 Zircher Second Printing Sketch Variant! Find out here why Shadowman is the sold-out series that Fangoria calls "a fantastic continuation of an already strong superhero legacy."
 
SHADOWMAN #3 - ON SALE JANUARY 9th!
Written by JUSTIN JORDAN & PATRICK ZIRCHER
Art & Cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER (NOV121340)
Variant Cover by DAVE JOHNSON (NOV121341)
$3.99/T+/32 pgs.
 
SHADOWMAN #1 ZIRCHER SECOND PRINTING SKETCH VARIANT - ON SALE JANUARY 9th!
Written by JUSTIN JORDAN & PATRICK ZIRCHER
Art & Cover by PATRICK ZIRCHER (OCT128368)
$3.99/T+/32 pgs.
 
The Preview Art
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Howard Chaykin and David Tischman's Bite Club

It is probably easy to figure out, if you have been reading this blog for a while, that I am a fan of Howard Chaykin. Yes, he's done his share of clunkers, like pretty much any creator but when he is on, he is capable of telling some very cool stories. One of the times that he was on was 2004's Bite Club, through Vertigo. Chaykin and Tischman also collaborated on the American Century mini-series for Vertigo, but that one was not as interesting for me.

David Hahn's art brings a lot to the table with this comic, and it was as much of a selling point when I bought it as was Chaykin's name on the cover. Hahn has a clean, illustrative style that is almost a counterpoint to the noirish crime story that Chaykin and Tischman are telling in this comic. His art is very reminiscent of Jamie McKelvie's art, of which I am also a big fan (as readers of this blog will also probably know). Hahn has also done art for arcs of Fables and Lucifer for Vertigo.

Bite Club is a story about vampires, family, organized crime and Miami. Any of those are enough to make any story complicated. The story starts with the murder of Eduardo Del Toro, and his being thrown from a Miami high-rise. This brings prodigal son Leto, America's first ordained vampire Catholic priest, back home to deal with the death and his family. Conflicts start almost immediately with Leto's sister Risa and mother Arabella. Leto is given control over the family's businesses by his father's will, setting the conflict against his life as a priest with that of the head of a criminal organization.

One of the primary money makers for the Del Toro family is a drug called Phantasmagoria, a synthetic drug that is like crystal meth for vampires.

A lot goes on in this six issue mini-series, without the book coming across as cluttered. It sold well enough to spawn a second mini-series, so I must not have been the only fan. Chaykin and Tischman bring a lot of plot threads together in this: from the murder of Eduardo to the return of Leto's last girl friend before the priesthood to the conflicting loyalties of family and church in Leto's head to Risa's jealousies and less that pure feelings towards her younger brother. All of these balls, and a few others, are kept in the air with a deft touch by the writers. This story is so much more than the buzz words of saying this comic is True Blood meets The Sopranos. Despite their being vampires and murderous criminals, Chaykin and Tischman create a cast of characters that you care about and are interested in seeing what they do next.

The ending is a bit of a shocker. I won't give it away but I will say that just as Leto figures out who he wants to be and what he wants to do with his "life," it is taken away from him, in proper noir style. This isn't a comic for the faint of heart, or those who are easily offended. It is not an all ages comic. There is murder, gratuitous bloodshed, violence, interesting and unique sexual activities (to those who have mainstream attitudes towards sex), a touch of an incestuous relationship between the brother and sister, a lot of nudity and drug use. Like I said, not for everyone. Of course, I would probably be disappointed with a vampire story that didn't have at least some of the items off of that list in it.

Is it worth picking up for yourself? Definitely. This is a vampire story that does not revel in the cliches of the genre, nor does it try to be "ground breaking" by violating those cliches in a stupid way. The characters of the story are well-realized and have motivations that drive themselves and the plot of the story. I own this in a smaller than comic-sized format that packaged all six issues for $10. It is worth that price, and more. This is a comic that I find myself re-reading whenever it happens to catch my eye on the book shelf.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dynamite Comics' Masks 1 + 2

This is one of those comics that should come as a no-brainer for me. The Shadow. The Spider. The Green Hornet and Kato. Chris Roberson writing a neo-pulp story based around these characters and set in the classic pulp era of the late 1930s.

Masks is an eight issue mini-series from Dynamite Entertainment that teams up their licensed pulp characters: The Shadow, The Spider, The Green Hornet and Zorro (Zorro in the 1930s?) with golden age heroes like The Black Terror, Green Lama and Miss Fury. This is a recipe for success...or great failure. I'm hoping for success.

Roberson's story is based around the classic Empire State stories from The Spider Magazine, three novel-length interlinked adventures from 1928. The Empire State stories were a thinly veiled analogy of Nazism, and how it could take root in the United States. Historically, these stories are interesting because they are some of the few pulp stories to tackle the evils of Nazis. In a nutshell, the original plot of the Empire State stories was that a cabal of criminals and corrupt politicians were able to push laws into effect and voted their Justice Party into power in the state of New York. Eventually this Justice Party took over the state and, using their Black Police were able to strong arm everyone into following them. Of course one man stood up to them, The Spider, and led a revolution against their oppression.

Chris Roberson takes the seeds of the Empire State stories, having the Justice Party rise to power in this shared universe of pulp and comic book hero greats. Now, instead of just The Spider fighting against the Justice Party and its Black Legions, a team of great heroes rise up to fight against these villains. Despite the Empire State stories predating it by decades, this story so far reminds me of The Dark Knight Rises, but maybe that is just because I finally watched the movie recently. The parallels are there: criminals and terrorists take over the city in an apocalyptic manner, rout the police forces and institute a near lawless regime where their words are taken as law. I think that these similarities come from the long lasting influence of the pulps on the comic books of today, and their cinematic offshoots.

Unfortunately, the story of these two issues is a bit disjointed. I honestly expected better from Roberson, after his work at DC Comics (I will admit that I haven't read any of his recent creator-owned works from Monkey Brain). These first two issues are a bit disjointed, and for a comic that is supposed to be only eight issues, I honestly expected more story in these comics. The first issue puts most of its efforts into building the connection between The Shadow and the Green Hornet, only to throw in The Spider in an almost random manner near the end of the issue. I am assuming that an Hispanic character introduced in passing in the first issue will eventually be revealed to be the pulp Zorro. To be honest, even though I love the character I think that his inclusion in this story seems to be a bit of a stretch, but I am hoping that Roberson pulls it off.

The art in these issues is a bit disjointed. Alex Ross does the first issue in his painted style, while the second issue is done by Dennis Calero. This is a bit disappointing. After Ross' great renditions of the characters in issue one (I love his Shadow and Lamont Cranston portrayals), seeing Calero's style in the second issue is jarring. Is that the secret origin of the Black Bat we are witnessing? For me, the art of the second issue was disappointing, mostly because in a mini-series I want to see a consistent art style throughout the book, and if you have to mix artists at least pick ones that have similar styles. Calero's style in the second issue does not appeal to me. It comes across as rushed and unfinished in places, particularly after the set up of Ross' photorealistic style in the first issue. However, Calero could very well just be suffering in comparison rather than due to the actual quality of his art.

I will stick with this book, because I think it has potential. I am looking forward to the re-re-introduction of the Green Lama and the Black Terror. I have loved these characters for a long time, and I really enjoyed their last use from Dynamite in the Project Superpowers books. I just hope that the characters aren't just abandoned this time around like they were before.

Overall, I liked these two issues despite the flaws.  Roberson's dialogue in the issues is superb and gives each of the characters their own unique voice. The story could have a faster pace, but that could be because I am comparing them to the source material, and Spider pulps were some of the fastest paced pulps written in the day. If these books suffer, it is not because of Roberson's writing on them. I do hope that the pace picks up a bit with the next issue, and they settle on a single artist for the rest of the story.

My main concern is that Masks is intended primarily as a world-building tool, much in the same vein as the First Wave comics that DC Comics put out, featuring Doc Savage, The Spirit, Batman and The Avenger. First Wave was a cool idea that ended up not living up to it's potential because I felt that the writer just didn't get writing characters like Doc Savage. Chris Roberson does not have this disadvantage. He gets these pulp characters and knows how to write them, clearly and with distinct voices. I just hope that he is allowed to write a story on its own merits, rather than one conceived to sell other merchandise and spin off new comics. Masks has the potential to be so much more than that, if the powers that be at Dynamite let it happen.

Below are some sample pages from the issues.  The first two pages are Ross' art from issue one and the next three are Calero's art from issue two. I think that the sample pages demonstrate the jarring differences between the issues, art-wise.






Do I recommend purchasing these comics? I will have to say that my answer is a qualified yes.  They are definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the pulps, the neo-pulps or the golden age of comics. I would not suggest having too high of expectations from them, however. They make for a good yarn, but I am not entirely sold on their long term readability. I think that $3.99 an issue is asking a lot for the content you get, in places. I still have high hopes for Chris Roberson's capabilities as a writer to pull all of this together and deliver a stronger story than these issues have so far demonstrated. Hopefully, I won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Warren Ellis' Desolation Jones: An Appreciation

I am going to talk about Desolation Jones today. What is Desolation Jones? I hear you asking. Simply, it was a six issue mini-series published by the late, lamented Wildstorm Comics in 2005, written by Warren Ellis and with art by J.H. Williams III. We're not going to talk about the follow-up that Ellis was unable to finish in this and focus on the mini that was completed. If you click the link above, you'll find out how to buy it through Amazon.com, hopefully earning some affiliate credit for me.

First off, if you are a fan of the Burn Notice television show and you like comics I think you should check out Desolation Jones. The high concept of this comic is similar: spies broken by their jobs, or unable to interact normally with others because of agency experiments, are given a choice...die or move to Los Angeles. Yes, an interesting choice. However, in this comic Los Angeles is a secret open-air prison for former intelligence agents to are too important to kill but in too bad of shape (mostly psychologically) to still undertake missions regularly. Behave and stay within the city limits of L.A. and the former agents can continue to live.

Enter Michael Jones, former MI6 operative and survivor of the Desolation Test. I don't want to go into the Desolation Test in too much detail because the unveiling of it, and it's effects on Jones, are an important part of the story. Let's just say that, from what is revealed it wasn't a pleasant test, not that many things called Desolation are often pleasant. After the test Michael is give the choice by his government: we kill you, or you move to America and L.A. Michael chooses life (much like in the Wham song) and moves to Los Angeles, where he sets himself up as a private investigator to the former intelligence set. Some of this sound familar?

The story of this miniseries is an investigation into Hitler porn that Michael is hired to undertake. In true noir style, however, it quickly turns into much more. While well-written, keep in mind that Desolation Jones is not always a high minded comic. After all, this is the comic that gave us the quote "Everything goes better with bukkake." As Ellis often does in his comics, this story is a weaving of the high brow and the low brow. One of Ellis' throwaway ideas in this mini (which was going to be expanded in the unfinished follow-up) is the concept of supermodernism. Within the narrative of the comic, Ellis has Jones describe the concept as "The fact that we don't build places just to live in anymore. We build places to go through. To wait in. To be transient." As an aside, with my game designer hat on, Supermodernity is something that I think all game designers should learn something about. It is a fascinating concept that I think could inform a lot of designs in modern/SF worlds.

Jones is a detective very much in the Sam Spade/Mike Hammer mold. I don't think that the choice of the name Michael for the character is entirely coincidental. Jones solves this mystery with a mix of brutality and logic (even though Jones says repeatedly that he is not very smart) that would have fit well into any 30s L.A. noir story.

Williams art in this miniseries is on the cusp. This book was done in between his work with Alan Moore on Promethea and before he worked on the Seven Soldiers material with Grant Morrison. In Desolation Jones you can see glimpses of William's upcoming work on Seven Soldiers and Batwoman as well. This mini is very much a snapshot of an artist who is just about to come into his own, and his collaboration with Ellis on this really brings the characters and the world to life.

This comic is not for everyone. I will admit that. The themes are very adult, and there is a lot of violence and brutality in the book. It is, however, two creators that are really on their game, coming together and creating something bigger and better than what they could have done on their own. If you like crime stories, espionage stories, detective stories, noir, or even mild science fiction and you are willing to read it as a comic book then this is the miniseries for you. But mostly, I think this should be a required reading for those who are fans of Burn Notice and are looking for a comic book to fill in the time before we get new episodes. By the way, Burn Notice fans, let me know if anyone else thinks there is a commonality between the characters of Robina and Fiona.