Mar 17, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 751: The Spirit: The New Adventures #5, July 1998

https://www.comics.org/issue/277295/

I'm going to make a confession that's a dodgy one to make: I'm not a huge fan of Will Eisner's work.

There. I said it.

Don't get me wrong. His draftsmanship is unquestionably amazing, and his dedication to the craft and cause of comics is beyond reproach. He's done more for the field than many ever will. But his stories just don't move me, I guess. It's an odd thing to say, considering there's so much emotion behind his various works. They're just not my cup of tea.

That said, what little of Paul Chadwick's work I've read I have always enjoyed, so today's comic was, for me, a mixed bag. The periodizing of the piece was a little uncomfortable occasionally, especially the overtly racist cultural attitudes, but I get that it makes the comic read more like something from the 30s or 40s than the 90s when it was published. And Chadwick's take on Eisner's particular aesthetic is pretty impressive (I said I wasn't a fan of Eisner, btw, not that I hadn't read him). In terms of crime comics, I'm fairly new to the genre. There's some in the collection, but they're in a vast minority, so I've little with which to compare today's comic. I think it comes down to differentiating between a crime comic and a mystery comic, in that, in a mystery comic, I want to have enough clues presented to me that I can solve the case along with the detective. A crime comic, on the other hand, does not present that evidence, and asks the reader to follow along through the story, rather than the mystery. It's a fine line, admittedly, but an important one. Today's comic was a crime comic, rather than a mystery.

Not much else to say, I'm afraid, though I feel like I ought to given the pedigree of today's piece. Perhaps I'll come to a fuller appreciation of Eisner, and of crime comics, as I progress. But I appreciate Chadwick. If nothing else, this comic makes me want to go out and read all of Concrete, and that's not a bad thing.

To be continued.

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