Comicscape: The Private Eye #1 -


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Comicscape: The Private Eye #1

Private eyes (clap, clap) are watching you (clap, clap)

By Joel Rickenbach     March 21, 2013

Welcome to the all-new Comicscape! Each week we'll be taking a look at a few of the week's new books in hopes of informing your comic shop purchases, or at the very least giving you 4-color thrills and chills. Enjoy!

The Private Eye #1 (by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente) There's a whole separate article to be written about The Private Eye's release.  Much like the Radiohead album In Rainbows a few years back, Brian K. Vaughan and co. have decided to release the book with a pay-what-you-want structure. With the digital age in full swing, and printing not being a necessity, they have completely bypassed the publishers to bring the book directly to you. This is big news, and it would and should cause much debate, however, today I'm going to just talk about the book itself. Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments below.

With Saga and now The Private Eye, Brian K. Vaughan has shown us that his view of Science Fiction and possible futures are not your run of the mill fare. He paints a picture that's much more Philip K. Dick than Gears of War. The Private Eye opens on a post-internet world. At some point down the line internet technology failed us, the "cloud" burst as they say in the book. This doesn't throw the world into chaos, in fact, the world of TPE looks almost utopian in some ways. Sleek architecture, clean streets and cops who communicate with Dick Tracy radio watches. After the world got burned by its internet life, Identity has become the name of the game. People walk around with holographic disguises called "Nyms", and going out in public with a head that looks like a fish or a tiger is perfectly acceptable. Nobody really knows who anybody is anymore, and that's where Patrick Immelmann comes in.


Patrick, which isn't his real name, is a private eye. He's got an illegally modified lens on his camera to get the impossible shots, and a "Dreamcoat" that provides urban camouflage. He rents a room at the Chateau Marmont littered with books by Henry Miller, and posters for films like The Maltese Falcon hanging on the walls. In the right circles he's known as the best at what he does, which leads a young, tiger-headed woman to his door in need of help. Clearly she values privacy, but that's the catch- she hires Patrick to dig up anything he can find on her. Of course, things go south and get very intriguing, but I'll leave that for you to discover. Much like Blade Runner, we're in a future world with noir undertones, and what's hidden is the shadows is always the most interesting.

This is a fantastic book in every conceivable way. The nature of its release might make some think this is a flight of fancy, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The Private Eye is a labor of love, a rich world filled with ideas and secrets that the creators just can't wait to spring upon us. This future is odd enough to challenge us, but Vaughan grounds it in reality so we can still identify with it. Among Patrick's books is Obama's The Audacity of Hope, and when he goes to visit his Grandfather, the old man has tattoos covering his arms, like many geriatrics filling up retirement homes likely will in 40-50 years. It's those little touches that keep us tethered and engaged. Marcos Martin has been a top artist since forever, but here he really gets to spread his wings. His style hails from the likes of Jack Kirby and David Mazzucchelli, and is, in a word- gorgeous. All of these things add up to a world I can't wait to keep visiting. If you have any bias towards the digital comic experience, now would be the time to drop it, or else you may be missing something really special.


The DC Comics exodus

We have yet to discuss any news in this new Comicscape format, but  the events of the past few days definitely deserve some ink. Two writers have walked off their titles at DC, both before their issues have even hit shelves. Andy Diggle was set to take over Action Comics in April (after Grant Morrison extended his run by an extra issue), but announced on Tuesday he was leaving the book over creative differences. And just yesterday, Joshua Hail Failkov exited his stints on Red Lanterns and Green Lantern Corps before the ink was dry on his contract. He also has cited creative differences. This has been a growing problem at DC since the New 52 switch over, and the rumblings of editorial mandates killing creativity keep getting louder. Things were heating up enough that DC hosted a creator's retreat  a few weeks ago to try and handle the issue, if the recent news is any evidence, it doesn't appear to have worked. It's no secret the New 52 isn't exactly in the shape DC hoped it would be in at this point, but is alienating some of the top talent in the business really the best idea? I'd love to know what you Maniacs think.

Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him onTwitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.


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jedibanner 3/21/2013 6:36:06 AM

Should it still be called a book though???....ok ok, I know....not the time for a debate...

jedibanner 3/21/2013 6:56:12 AM

On the DC issue...seems like new blood at the manager's level might be needed. Sounds like the DC house needs to have fun with their characters and less of a ''control mind'' over how things are run. Once again Marvel seems to be on the winning side of things in their rollout of new books, writers and characters.

DaForce1 3/21/2013 8:33:38 AM

 Frankly, if DC actually cared about story content instead of making public spectacles (ie. the death of Batman, a "main" DC character coming out of the closet, the death of Robin (yet again)) designed only to bump sales up temporarily due to the speculator market, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. I still say look at Batman Beyond Unlimited as an example of what DC should be doing. It's the only book not set in the "new 52", and because of that, it doesn't suffer having to morph into something it's not. Focus on putting out good stories, that don't need a new or retold origin story every year, and there won't be a problem. Because honestly, the "new 52" crap just feels like DC is spinning their wheels trying to get a perfect origin story setup so that they can transfer it to a feature film. 

shac2846 3/21/2013 11:45:25 AM

 I was going to post about the DC issues but glad you brought it up. Between the eff up of their film properties and now even their television work (canceling young justice) something they excelled at; the comic book side of DC was really one of the only things going for it and now they are starting to screw that up. I've enjoyed all of the new 52 titles I got in trade but this issue with creators and editors is ridiculous. When Rob Liefield walked out and made a fuss I wasn't really surprised but when George Perez, Gail Simone, and now Diggle and Failokov it makes you wonder what the hell is going on. I digress.

I would love to jump at Private Eyes as I am hooked on SAGA like a drug fix but I hold that they will eventually publish this in a trade form and when they do I'm on it. But damn the art alone makes me wish I could read the complete story now. 

Also i posted this in another thread but it looks like Neil Gaiman is letting marvel use his half of the ownership of the spawn character Angela and she will appear at the end of age of ultron similar to the marvel post credit teases in their films. She will also be used by Bendis in his Guardians of the Galaxy book. Her role is still undetermined but I thought that was interesting news. Bendis, Gaiman, and Joe Quesada have all confirmed this. 

jedibanner, I personally don't think that digital will ever overtake print in regards to comics. The same thing was said about movies when TV was invented that people would stop going and they had three movies this past year all make a billion dollars a piece. People still go to the movies, people will still read comics. If anything major ever changed the industry I think it would be trade formats. Archaia comics has gone completely trade only release with only a few titles that still come out as singles. But even the trade idea I think wouldn't hold up to the big two as weekly comics are still an additional revenue stream in addition to trades and other licensing. I just don't think there going anywhere buddy (even with the companies pushing digital so hard) so you can breath easy.If anything the digital print like Private Eyes may be the only way to get new comic ideas to the public as some publishers aren't always open to new ideas. Especially the out there ideas of Brian Vaughn.  

DaForce, I don't agree with your DC sentiments they are screwing up but a lot of the new 52 are good stories. Scott Snyder Batman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, All star western just to name a few. But I have the first trade of Batman Beyond and I'm ordering the second as well. I was wondering if you had read superman beyond and justice league beyond which I believe are both in continuity to BB and already have preorders on amazon. Wanted to know if they were any good or not if you had read or heard about them. I'm interested.

DaForce1 3/21/2013 12:54:26 PM

 Shac, Superman Beyond and JL Beyond are all part of the Batman Beyond Unlimited comic. So you are essentially getting three titles (the book has a few extra pages too) for the price ($3.99) of one title a month. Which isn't a bad deal. Both the Supes and JL Beyond stories are pretty good. Almost as good as the BB Unlimited stories. So if you're enjoying BB Unlimited, you'll more than likely dig the others too. 

shac2846 3/21/2013 2:02:46 PM

 Thanks DaForce.

joelr 3/22/2013 8:13:53 AM

I don't know if you chaps saw, but apparently Joshua Hail Failkov left the GL books because he DIDN'T want to kill John Stewart, which DC was demanding he do. A total revaersal of the norm.



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