GLASSCITY, VOLUME #1
Writer: David Cranna
Art: Roman Gubskii
Letterer: Ryan Bielak
Publisher: Glasscity Comics
WHAT IS IT?
The first volume of a three-part graphic novel drawn straight from the vein of Frank Miller. A classic film noir detective story with a gritty edge.
Sin City gets a Fifth Element aesthetic with a touch of Trainspotting to spice it up.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Gabriel Gatti is a detective in a sprawling Scottish Metropolis known affectionately as Glasscity. Dealing with the filth that spreads from the city’s underbelly is enough to turn even the most optimistic person cynical, but a tragedy in Gatti’s past has irreparably shattered his faith in humanity.
When a seemingly standard case of a missing girl bears a resemblance to his own daughter’s disappearance, the already hardened detective finds himself walking a moral tightrope. The first 24 hours are crucial in any missing persons case, and perhaps if Gatti can find her, he may atone for something bigger.
David Cranna delivers a script that takes all the tropes of a popular genre and adds his own flavour to it, creating something familiar, but exciting.
Roman Gubskii takes on all the artistic responsibilities, drawing from Frank Miller's stylistic well.
Opening on a completely different trajectory, the story brilliantly lures you in with an optimistic prologue that delivers a sucker punch to the solar plexus.
The character of Gabe Gatti is a brilliant example of a film noir detective; broad shoulders, long coat, possible alcoholic, tragic past, deep cynicism, and a wavering moral compass.
Much like the protagonist, the plot so far is a play-by-play of the hardboiled genre. Which means if you remotely enjoy that, you’ll love this.
There are more than a few great moments in this, but the paradigm shift from the prologue to the main story is one that really stands out.
Gubskii’s bold colouring, often going for warmer palettes to break from the stretches of cold blues and purples, gives Glasscity moods often absent in dystopian fiction.
His command of the absence of colour, the swathes of pure black, is where he makes his boldest statement, using a paint-fleck effect to create unique depth and adds character to every shadow.
Speech bubbles and the internal monologues of Gatti are well placed, and cleverly move with the flow of the art so as never to intrude but, in fact, guide the eye.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Between the plot, the character and the dialogue, it could be accused of being a paint-by-numbers, anti-hero detective noir. If you aren’t into that, this isn’t for you.
Representing the unique idea of a Scottish Metropolis, its identity is lost beyond a few dialect flares and background info about Scottish events and could be anywhere in the world. The eponymous city deserves more of a personality.
Conversations with other characters read well, but stop just short of absolutely natural due to the protagonist’s curt tone.
Frank Miller’s style of art is an acquired taste, so anything that remotely emulates it runs the risk of alienating some readers.
The cover really needs to stand out more, given some of the quality inside.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Despite an early reliance on tropes and an art style that may turn some people off, this is a really well-put-together first volume. Direction, dialogue, art, and lettering really work together so well, you would have to hate the genre to be excused for not trying this. Fans of Sin City or 100 Bullets will feel right at home.
This first installment shows an incredible amount of promise and if the prologue is anything to go by, you would be wise not to underestimate it, because as the story shows, those who do...don’t get very far.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
You can get a copy on Comichaus or wait until the next Kickstarter campaign.
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