By Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Icon Comics
The Dead and the Dying continues the strong collaboration between Brubaker and Phillips as seen in earlier criminal volumes. This time the story they create is set in the 1970s and is constructed around the backstories of Gnarly, the undertow bar proprietor; Teeg Lawless, father of Tracy Lawless; and Danica Briggs, a black woman with a troubled past. Actually, the way the story is told is pretty unique: The Dead and the Dying is really three separate character studies that contain within them the plot of the central story. It's a nifty device. I’m fascinated by the way this approach makes plot secondary to character, and the way that the larger story (which in a typical comic would be the only story) is just the collateral byproduct of the individual character’s stories. It’s kind of an interesting thing to consider in regard to how “real life” or historical narratives are created.1 This issue of Criminal maintains the noir trappings of the criminal series but with a distinct Blaxploitation and Grindhouse flavour (which is appropriate given the subject matter and the time period the story is set in). The writing and art as always are spot on and create this complete world to visit. Like all of the other Criminal books, I'd highly recommend The Dead and the Dying to any comics reader. Incidentally, part three of this book is the first creator owned comic I ever bought. Nostalgia!
Word count: 238
1: World War II as my generation is, perhaps, the aggregate of the byproduct from the individual stories of millions of people.
So I Read Coward
So I Read Lawless