By Ken Porter
The Fade Out #1 & #2
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Art by: Sean Phillips
Colors by: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Publisher: Image Comics
I'm a big fan of murder mysteries and crime drama. The only thing I enjoy more than a good noir is a saucy Hollywood story set in the 1940s. Luckily for me Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Image Comics have delivered just such a tale with The Fade Out. The story focuses on a screenwriter named Charlie who has lost his muse and relies on his drunken and blacklisted pal Gil to write scripts. But when Charlie wakes up one morning at the scene of a horrific crime, he finds that people in his circle have covered up the murder, and he has no idea how he fits into the puzzle.
A Gripping Story
Not only does Philips' art pull me into this story, but Brubaker's take on Hollywood murders makes me want to sit and binge watch black and white detective movies. The blend of atmosphere, character, and setting gives this book a lot of life and heart. Even if some of it is ugly and full of venomous truth.
Why It’s a Great Alternative
There's definitely no supernatural thing going on in The Fade Out. It's just a gripping crime story and look into the decade through the lens of a screenwriter trying to make it in L.A. It seems like so many comics rely on a science fiction or supernatural twist that sometimes it can be a bit exhausting. It's good to know that there's still room for stories that just have compelling characters without unnatural abilities or circumstances.
Don't get me wrong, I love science fiction and the supernatural as much as anybody (sometimes too much), but it's nice to get a story that wants to exist outside that bubble in comics.
Who Would Like The Fade Out?
Fans of Brubaker and Phillips' Criminal are an obvious choice. I also think that fans of shows like Mad Men would enjoy the time period and the interactions with the characters. If you've been reading series like Satellite Sam or enjoy murder mysteries then this is a comic book you don't want to miss. The extras in the back of each issue alone are worth checking out, not to mention the fantastic covers we've gotten so far.
Ken Porter also writes comic books including "Ink Ribbon" from Visionary Comics. Ken was also the winner of last year's Top Cow Talent Search contest and was recently published in "Artifacts" #33.