Continuing from yesterday, let’s talk about a certain surly Englishman’s best comics. To start: a recent one I happen to love. (Archive.)
Fell’s one of my favorite comics to debut in the past few years. I just wish it came out on a more regular schedule. Regardless, it’s great work, and flips the old Ellis formula on its head.
It also serves as the first example of a new comics format Warren Ellis proposed: that of the “Slimline” book. Each issue’s only two bucks, chump change in comparison to most comics, and the 16 pages of story are denser than your average comic. With the included backmatter– sketches, articles, letters, authorial rambling– it makes a great package. The collected edition doesn’t include backmatter, though, so snatch up the singles while you can!
The eponymous character is Richard Fell, one of the three-and-a-half detectives in Snowtown, a “feral city.” Rich is the one good-hearted, right-minded guy in an environment filled with Ellisian bastard characters. His job is to protect the good folks from the bad through a mixture of excellent detecting and superior asskicking. The stories are very clever, and the supporting cast is well put together: we’ve got mostly-kind Mayko the bartender, the slipping-into-insanity lieutenant, and my personal favorite, the creepy nun in the Richard Nixon mask. Each issue is a self-contained story, too, so it’s perfectly accessible for new readers.
The book wouldn’t be as wonderful as it is, however, without the art of co-creator Ben Templesmith. His grungy, cartoony style brings Snowtown to grisly life. His characters are perfectly expressive and marvelously ugly. Snowtown gets under their skin, and thanks to Ben’s art, it gets under ours– but in a good way.
Fell is about secrets, and lies– the things people hide. It’s about one man’s mission to make the world’s worst neighborhood a little bit better. Thanks to the great characters, the razor-sharp dialogue, and the gorgeous art, I am swept up into Snowtown, eagerly awaiting every issue to find out what else is lurking somewhere under the surface…
The first issue is available to read free on Image’s website. If you haven’t read it, then check it out, by all means, and start picking up the singles if you like it. You really can’t go wrong with that much goodness for two bucks an episode.