Wow. Just wow. Just plain.. wow.
If you’re like me and you love noir, you’ll love this $Hit. If you’re like me and you love comics that think outside of the box and try to do things differently from others, you’ll love this $Hit. If you’re.. well.. not like me since no other Cleric can compare, you’ll love this…comic week, since it marks the delivery of the $Hit you’ve all been waiting for.
The $ stands for more than Hope.
It means $uperb.
Hit #1 is the first of a four issue mini-series created by Bryce Carlson and published by BOOM! Carlson is actually the comic company’s lead editor, so that nearly makes the writing quality of this comic all the more impressive. It’s a series that shines a light on the seedy side of LA police in the 1950s, something you’ve seen in films like LA Confidential or Gangster Squad (if you stayed awake through it), but even going further than that. Hit intensely details and delves deeper and deeper into the dark and dreary.
Our conquering hero, Detective Harvey Slater, is kind of a scumbag. But a good guy scumbag. An anti-hero like the best of them, Harvey Slater is a character that leaps off the page like Parker or Mike Hammer or even more recently, Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt. These are men that fight the good fight and kick all kinds of ass without losing their sense of self and without losing who they really are. Sometimes that’s dirty and nasty.
And he leaps off the page and immediately is a living, breathing entity that you want to see more of. The characters in the book are vibrant. They all fall into their patterns and their large swaths of characterization that you see in all noir, but at the same time, they’ve become great characters in one book.
One single solitary issue of this book and your mind’ll already be off and running. You’ll fall in love with the characters like Urkel on a first date.
Sounds like the perfect $tart. Oh, did I do that?
Carlson takes a look at California in the 1950s and the dirty crimes that transpired there. I wonder if he’s a big fan of Rockstar’s L.A. Noir, considering readers will get a brief glimpse of Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevard and many more landmarks in the City of Angels. And, yet, despite jumping throughout Los Angeles, the story never feels quick or jarring. It never feels like we’re taking a quick jaunt; it feels like world building. Again, this is the way to begin a comic.
Vanessa R. Del Ray’s artwork works wonders with Carlson’s writing. Del Ray’s art is fluid, cartoonish at times and nearly reminescent of movie storyboards. It doesn’t rely heavily on the black inks or tones like a lot of noir artwork, either. In fact, the art is largely more fluid than the majority of the genre. Her artwork also isn’t blocky or choppy, though it feels more out of place at first — until you are pulled in by the mere strength of it. You’re not really reading a comic. You’re watching a movie unfold, with the power to flip back and rewind to the best parts without a remote (though a remote to flip around your digital pages does sound cool, no?).
I also found it incredibly difficult to pick a best part or favorite character in Hit‘s debut i$h, and that’s a good thing. When reading a new issue one, you want to love everyone and you want to feel immersed. You want to be dragged into this world and you don’t want to leave it.
That’s Hit. That’s partial reason why this spectacular first issue is a winning combination of creative prowess.
Now, before this Cleric closes out the procession, it’d be nice to additionally comment on one of the industry’s most underrated elements: the cover artwork. And, yup. These boys are outstanding. Ryan Sook clearly does no wrong, while the pulp variant by Erik M. Gist is one of my favorite covers of the year. The design by Hannah Nance Partlow is superb. Oops, I meant $uperb. She’s wrapped everything in a neat little bow and it feels like a present that you want to open over and over again.
The book opens with a short brief from the police and closes with a story from Bryce Carlson about the book and where the idea came from. These additions are, again, elements that fit so well with the overall package. Getting a glimpse into the creative mind is always something that I want to see as a creator. It lets you scoop a little piece of that person’s brain out and read it over and over again. And it makes you a stronger creator too, to see what someone you respect is doing and what they’re putting together.
Finally, there are two creative ads in the book that are set in the same time period: one for cotton gloves and one for luggage. Since they both fit into the overall story, damn if they don’t make the comic even more appealing than thought possible. This noir $Hit isn’t for the birds; it’s the noir Hit you all deserve.
Come back for more.