Wednesday, October 12, 2016

PEEPLAND #1 by Christa Faust and Gary Phillips

Leave it to Christa Faust and Hard Case Crime to drag me back into reading comic books! It's my first full comic book issue or graphic novel that I've read in about 15 years. When I heard that Hard Case Crime was jumping into the comic publishing world I couldn't resist, especially after learning that the one of the first series would be written by acclaimed crime authors Christa Faust and Gary Phillips. Peepland was an idea spawned by Faust's experiences working in the New York City peep booths back in the day. It takes place in 1986 NYC and is about Roxy Bell, a peepshow artist in a booth at Peepland in Manhattan, who's minding her own business cleaning up after a customer, when a colleague, pornographer Dirty Dick, runs into her booth and stashes a VHS tape. But little does she know, a coupla hard dudes and the cops are after Dirty Dick and this bit of contraband.
The first issue does a great job of dropping you into the world of pre-Guiliani 80's Manhattan (filled with porno theaters, pawn shops, and graffiti) and the people who roam the island. The art is engaging, with the saturated colors that we've come to expect from 80's stories, especially in the neon-infused cover! The dialogue is great, the story moves at a nice clip, and the characters are well introduced. I can't wait to learn more about AJ, Nick, Aiesha, and of course Roxy herself. I loved the introduction of the Uncle Leo character, which not only added more depth to Roxy's character, but also added an unfortunate New York 80's element that I was not expecting. I can't wait to read the next issue. By combining Faust's knowledge of the time and place, Gary Phillips's knowledge of writing for comic books, and both of their great noir sensibilities, Hard Case Crime and Titan Comics should have a hit on their hands!


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