You Have Killed Me

Mmm hardboiled detective fiction.

One of my major projects of the last week has been searching through the entire Multnomah County Library database of comic books and graphic novels to cull which books I would like to put on hold for future reviews. Our library boasts about 9500 comics. I’ve currently only about 2,000 left to sift through. The process has been made much easier by the fact that at least 60% of them are Manga series, which I have virtually no interest in reading. Sad story, but true.

The great news is that half of my holds were processed over the weekend and arrived today (which means I get to start queueing up even more this afternoon). And the first book of the stack which piqued my interest was You Have Killed Me by Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones, a duo you might remember from this earlier post. It’s another Oni Press publication.

The cover was enough to warrant  a coo of complacency from me. I’m very much attracted to Jones’ artistic style, and the splashes of color were thrilling. While she works wonders with black and white, it’s unfortunate that she doesn’t seem to get the chance to work with color in most of her art, because her lines translate well. Do yourself a favor and visit her flickr collection. It was there I discovered she’d inked the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog comic book of which I knew absolutely nothing about until today. Because I’m lame and have been out of touch. Obviously that’s going on the to-read list. 🙂 But as you can see – she is greatly expressive with faces, rendering an especially well done Neil Patrick Harris.

Her artwork does not fail in this book either – the women are sumptious and curvy, evoking a Jessica Rabbit feel which is appropriate for a detective story. The men are hard lines and rigid brows. The scenery is dark, the shadows are deep and ominous. The vibe is perfectly pitched and there are no real complaints from me – save a few scenes where the character’s expressions didn’t really seem to match with the dialogue. Overall, artistically speaking, the book was pretty flawless.

Sexy dames and glowering detectives.

The writing fit the noir mood excellently – though there were a few times when the metaphors of Jazz and Almonds seemed strained and out-of-place. Clearly, Rich did his homework and richly peppered the dialogue with vocabulary of the day (twist has always been my favorite noir word for women), and with it’s minimal use – it didn’t stand out as being affected or cheesy.

The story itself was pretty standard noir detective fair with plot twists and turns that I didn’t always catch. I did find myself intrigued with the detective character – Anthony Mercer – and wanted to know a bit more about his past, as well as Julie Roman, the woman he is hired to locate. We could have spent a bit more time with them during their summers, and I wanted to know why Mercer had decided to give up the good life and become a detective – as it was indicated he was from high society.

While I won’t divulge the ending here for those who are interested in reading it – it was equally surprising and a bit of a let down. While I love the angst of noir, I can never quite get over it’s treatment of women, so it’s conclusions rarely sit well with me.

Overall – it was a delightful and entertaining second entry into the collaborative works of Rich and Jones. I’m definitely a fan, and therefore looking forward to future works penned and inked by these folks. While we wait, here is an interview of Jones, along with information about her upcoming independent projects. And one of Rich.

Excited to hear about their series Spell Checkers being debuted this Spring, and perhaps getting to meet and greet with them at the San Diego Comic Con.

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About tinyheroes

Mindy Crouchley is a 33 year old woman with a degree in English and Technical Writing from Portland State University. She has accumulated three+ years experience in the Marketing and Communications field - with an emphasis on creating digital media content. She has been reading comic books since she was 10 years old. She currently lives in outer southeast Portland with her spouse Dan Robertson, her baby girl, and their dog - Jabba the pug. She spends her free time devouring books, crafting cosplay, video gaming, attending comic cons, writing stories/screenplays, attending book to film adaptation club meetings, volunteering, and watching copious amounts of TV and movies.

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