Category Archives: Crime

Review: LITTLE TULIP by Jerome Charyn and François Boucq

LITTLE TULIP by Jerome Charyn and François Boucq

LITTLE TULIP, a graphic novel recently reissued by Dover Publications, by Jerome Charyn and François Boucq, is definitely not something that is cooked up overnight. No, on the contrary, like anything worthwhile, this is a work that is carefully constructed with meticulous precision. It only looks effortless, and it is the sort of comics that I prefer.

Paul, the master, teaches Azami, the apprentice.

This graphic novel immerses the reader in Soviet prison tattoo culture. Within the Russian underground community, these unique tattoos formed a service record of a criminal’s transgressions. Skulls denoted a criminal authority. A cat represented a thief. And, in the case of our story, a tulip represented a young person joining the ranks of a gang. Today, these same tattoos have become fashion statements because of their mystery and fierce beauty. They were, then and now, a way to step beyond the ordinary. For our main character, Paul, they were also a way to step beyond the horrors of the gulag.

Page from LITTLE TULIP: New York City, 1970

Our present setting is New York City, 1970. There is a serial killer on the loose. Paul runs his own tattoo shop and is also a police sketch artist. His work with the police is more than just a gig but a calling, a way to seek justice. Not only does Paul have that uncanny ability to render a likeness based upon a witness’s verbal description, he also has a sixth sense about criminals. He will often act as a medium for hard to crack cases. There may be honor among thieves but, for Paul, there are crimes that compel no mercy.

Paul came from an American family that chose to live in Moscow for a while. The timing could not have been worse since this was the 1950s during the reign of Stalin and the secret police. One misunderstanding too many and the whole family gets shipped off to Siberia where they are immediately separated into a gulag. But, just as all hope may be lost, Paul, now Pavel, has inherited from his father an artistic sensibility that will help him endure the worst.

Page from LITTLE TULIP: Train Trip to Siberia

This is a story as much about one man’s journey among hardened criminals as it is a story about how life and art commingle, how art can save one’s soul. This is a multi-layered masterpiece of a script by renowned writer Jerome Charyn; and a breathtaking, bold, and completely enthralling work of art by renowned artist François Boucq. The structure of this graphic novel is just impeccable: a story told at a easy and natural pace with room enough for metaphysical musings.

More more details on LITTLE TULIP, and how to purchase, visit Dover Publications right here.

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Filed under Comics, Crime, Crime Fiction, Dover Publications, François Boucq, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Jerome Charyn, New York City, Russia, Tattoos

Review: DEAD INSIDE #1

DEAD INSIDE #1

DEAD INSIDE #1

DEAD INSIDE is a new crime noir comic book series, written by John Arcudi; art by Toni Fejzula; colors by Andre May; published by Dark Horse Comics. The main character is Linda, a deputy who has recently been promoted to detective. Linda is a hard case all to her own: does not play well with others, whether professionally or personally. Between the talents of Arcudi and Feizula, they have created a tough character, all sad and lonely, you know, dead inside. Funny thing about death, it comes in many colors. The first thing to really bring Linda to life in years is all about death: a really twisted murder-suicide committed by a most unlikely character.

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Detective Linda Caruso can’t let go of the fact that the murderer, so small and slight in stature, would have been able to bring down a bear of a man. This was supposedly an easy enough crime to solve as it took place inside a prison, a minimum security prison at that. This is the first case for Linda at the Jail Crimes Division of the Sheriff’s Office in Mariposa County. Nothing unusual is supposed to happen there. Except Linda now finds herself confronting a crime that becomes more bizarre the more she investigates.

Page from DEAD INSIDE #1

Page from DEAD INSIDE #1

This is a series that will have special appeal for fans of crime and prison television, such as Law & Order, NCIS, Orange Is the New Black, American Crime Story, or Making a Murderer. This is a new series from Rumble writer John Arcudi and Veil artist Toni Fejzula. DEAD INSIDE all adds up to a great study in character and a compelling murder mystery full of gritty style. This resonates with the reader. An intriguing case. And an intriguing detective. Who could ask for more?

Page from DEAD INSIDE #1

Page from DEAD INSIDE #1

DEAD INSIDE #1 is available as of December 21st. For more details, and how to purchase, visit Dark Horse Comics right here.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Crime, Crime Fiction, Dark Horse Comics, John Arcudi, Noir

Review: THE FADE OUT #1

The-Fade-Out-Ed-Brubaker

“The Fade Out” is the new noir series from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. It opens up with a recollection of the “phantom planes” over Los Angeles, the Japanese bombers imagined but never actually in the air, following Pearl Harbor. Hearing them up above became a nervous habit hard to break. And so the world of Charlie Parish, a schemer and a screenwriter in Hollywood, seems to be just one big bad habit.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Crime, Crime Fiction, Ed Brubaker, Hollywood, Image Comics, Noir, Sean Phillips

Review: VELVET #1, published by Image Comics

Velvet-Brubaker-Image-Comics

“Velvet,” published by Image Comics, is your next spy thriller addiction. It is written by one of the best crime fiction writers that comics has ever known, Ed Brubaker. And he is teamed up with one of the best artists he’s ever worked with, Steve Epting. This new series blasts away from the start. We have the dark and moody color palette that Brubaker favors, provided by colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser. We have the nondescript lettering, as if out of typewriter or teletype machine, provided by letterer Chris Eliopoulos. Yes, this comic is like a good martini, shaken, not stirred.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Crime, Crime Fiction, Ed Brubaker, Image Comics, mystery, Pulp Fiction, Spy Thrillers

SNAPSHOT #2 Review

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It is so great to see Andy Diggle and Jock working together again. “Snapshot #2” (of 4) kicks this noir adventure into high gear. And all in glorious black & white! Yes, if you’re familiar with these guys, you know that b&w is the way to go. The premise: A young man picks up a smartphone in the park and nothing is ever the same again. This isn’t like just calling up the owner and having a million thank-you’s thrown your way. No, this phone is connected to the world finance underground. Once you’ve tapped into that crazy shit, well, you don’t come back.

Now, let me talk to Andy Diggle and Jock fans and, if you’re new, please join in. Okay, so you know why you love Andy Diggle, right? The guy knows how to juggle clues, keep the plot moving, and make you glad you’re not the one running for your life in the pages you’re reading. And, Jock, we love the guy. Talk about a straight edge style so sharp along with a fluid sensibility. This guy loves what he does. He has a signature style that fits just right for that Diggle gritty worldview. If you haven’t gotten a chance, pick up “The Losers” and all this will totally make sense. Think mayhem with style. Andy’s crisp crime writing is in full effect in “The Rat Catcher” so pick that up too. You’ll also want to get Jock’s run on “Detective Comics.”

What a tight story this is. One false move, and our main character, Jake Dobson, a 19-year-old who works in a comics shop, is found accused of murder while being pursued by killers. It seems like he can’t loosen the noose around his neck but, so far, he manages to avoid a number of close calls. He can consider himself lucky but he would much prefer not to need the by-the-skin-your-teeth-you-were-just-about-to-die kind of luck. But he’s not alone. In this issue, he meets a teen girl named, Callie Twain, and she’s much deeper into this mess.

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All Callie wants is to find her dad. It’s been a terrible time for Callie. Her mom passed away. She knows her dad loves her and she has always relied upon him. Trouble is, her dad is tied in with some very bigger players in world finance and he somehow stumbled upon some things he shouldn’t know. Now, he’s missing; Callie’s life is in danger; and you already know that Jake’s life is totally in danger too. It is so hanging by a thread that you wonder how he will survive the pages of the next issue.

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If you enjoy a story where all hell breaks loose within a thoughtfully crafted story, then “Snapshot” is for you. If you are entertained by dramatic car chases and exquisitely drawn explosions, smashed cars, and all manner of chaos, well, there you go…”Snapshot.”

“Snapshot #2” (of 4) is a March 6 release. Visit our friends at Image Comics.

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Filed under Adventure, Andy Diggle, Comics, Comics Reviews, Crime, Image Comics, Jock, Noir