25 October 2008


That's what they call it on the back cover. I wrote about SF/Noir earlier, and I'm back to it. The 24/7 anthology from Image Comics led me to the earlier work of Messrs. Brandon, Gunter & MacDonald entitled NYC Mech. Unlike 24/7, these are serials, six issues of the comic book bound as a "graphic novel." 24/7 was a collection of shorts by dozens of writers and artists. In NYC Mech, all the writing is by Ivan Brandon and Miles Gunter, and all the art is by Andy MacDonald. The fictional future is the same in both, a Manhattan entirely inhabited by robots, but robots that walk, talk and act like human beings. Let's Electrify and Beta Love are crime stories, melodramas in the noir tradition, ordinary folks living on the edge getting in over their heads. The art is fantastic, and the colors (by Nick Falardi) are spectacular. The whole layout is eye-catching--they've distilled the b & w cityscape of a hundred films noir and rendered it in bold, vibrant hues. The characters have all the expressiveness of flesh-and-blood folks, and suffer life's exigencies as if they were human, but have hydro-mechanical joints and a metallic integument. Are they cyborgs? Descendants of humans? The story never makes that clear. You find yourself in an alien world without explanation surrounded by familiar types chasing the same old dreams. Phillip K. Dick asked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? These guys are looking for the answer.

No comments: