Thursday, August 27, 2009

THE BIG BUZZ: The Vertigo Crime Renaissance

When DC's premiere crime series, 100 BULLETS, drew the curtain with it's 100 issue run, many people figured that either it was just the beginning or the end of what has now come to be known as the VERTIGO CRIME RENAISSANCE--- With the emergence of DC's new 'Graphic Mystery Series', WILL DENNIS is about to further that debate... Welcome to PLANET GRIFFIN and THE BIG BUZZ!
In a calculated move to meld the graphic novel format to the traditional pulp novel, Will Dennis is steering the new line towards the book market; wedging them firmly between BORIS STARLING suspense and the latest HARD CASE CRIME paperback--- a subtle message to book readers that they're the 'real deal' and not just 'manga-sized comics'... But the real question here is: Will it be enough?

Take the IAN RANKIN penned 'DARK ENTRIES', for example... It's a John Constantine story--- and while it's considered as 'a great read', even I would be hard pressed to understand why a series that markets itself as '...completely outside the direct market...' would do yet another take on a HELLBLAZER story rather than give us something completely different?
Ian Rankin tells a fast-paced, black comedy tale about a reality show for the damned. That's it.
As I said, it's a great read
, just not on the level as a DARWYN COOKE adaptation... Dark Entries does nothing to distinguish VERTIGO CRIME from the same ol' DC material... ESPECIALLY SINCE IT'S NOT EVEN A CRIME NOVEL!

Of course, all is not lost.

The BRIAN AZZARELLO/VICTOR SANTOS tale 'FILTHY RICH', on the other hand, is more in tune to what crime noir is supposed to be! (Considering the twisted web that was 100 Bullets, you know Azzarello is a go-to-guy for the genre) Santos' visual style complements the storyline well here, as Azzarello weaves a tale that owes more to RAYMOND CHANDLER than anything else: Rich Junkin, a former football player turn car salesman barely scraping by. Between delivering cars and married dames, Rich is nothing more than a spider slowly entangled in a bigger spider's web... Sex, violence, the double-crossings amid seedy and lurid characters... Pure pulp gumbo!

Now, seeing as how both of these titles were released together, the jury is still out on whether or not the 'graphic mystery' experience will suite everyones taste. Vertigo's already got a pedigree for cutting edge material, but with upstarts like IDW, and with the current craze being centered around 'retreading/readapting' old crime novels, Dennis will have his work cut out for him...

Either way, it benefits all readers involved

Preview the latest Vertigo Crime titles here.


Mdoubble said...

Can the name of the authors get any larger? What happened to the story? I was actually confused as to what the title of the story was?

RodBuddah said...

I noticed that myself (should've commented about that on the post)! I think that's Dennis' way of drawing the attention of the comic readers as they pass by the racks;)