Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review: The Chill

The Chill The Chill by Jason Starr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To be honest, I haven’t read all that many “graphic novels.” That’s not for lack of trying. I read trade paperback collections of monthly or quarterly series all the time – like Eric Powells’s The Goon or Dave Sim’s Cerebus. And I enjoy any of them, or I wouldn’t keep reading them.

But actual “novels” in graphic form? Stories that sustain themselves over the course of a book and then end? Not so many. There are the legit literary ones – Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman, and Gene Luen Yang – but this is genre, a noir story boiled down to pictures and just a handful of words.

And this really works. It ties bloodied up Celtic myths with a police procedural and a generational love story. It reveals its background mystery quickly where others might make a gimmick out of it, but it keeps up its energy as the climax ramps up.

As much as any graphic novel I can think of, this feels like reading a movie. The illustrations are clean and sharp, and they carry the story in important ways. As just one example, a character has the capacity to appear differently to different people. The illustrations show that before we get the explanation, but not too much before.

I’ve heard good things about Starr, and I read an earlier book that he wrote with Ken Bruen. On the evidence of these two, he’s someone to keep reading. He gets what the genre is about, and he delivers it without nonsense.

Definitely worth checking out.

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