Comic Review: The Fade Out TPB (Image)

If you can afford $25 US, I URGE you to pick up Fade Out, the new Trade Paperback from Image. And I’ll tell you why: Okay, picture this: Hollywood, 1948. […]

If you can afford $25 US, I URGE you to pick up Fade Out, the new Trade Paperback from Image. And I’ll tell you why:

Okay, picture this: Hollywood, 1948. Guys in suits, making movies. Young starlets, hoping for a break. Press agents, always looking for a new angle on a new picture. A young female star is murdered, and the writer who found her dead in his house was stinking drunk. He was with her but doesn’t remember a thing. Now he’s determined to find out who killed her. And that’s dangerous!

So starts one of the best stories I’ve read all year (and this is November!). Writer Ed Brubaker captures the essence of film noir, the cadences of the forties’ dialogue, the sleazy Hollywood personalities. The people are all working an angle: how to get a break, a leg up on the competition, how to get into a picture, how to survive the predators. How to drink all day and drink all night. Living the dream and living the nightmare at the same time.

Sean Phillips illustrates the heck out of this story. The amount of credible detail is astounding: the hair, the makeup, the suits, and ties. The locations around Hollywood. The stars who float and gloat in and out of the limelight. The mood of the dark rooms and the scheming backroom deals. The pressure to get something done. Beautifully rendered faces, hair, dreams of stardom. Beautiful corpses and dark alleys.

It’s sensitively coloured, too. Elizabeth Breitweiser is magic with her colouring. How to portray 1948 in such a dreamy but dreadful way: one minute you are a star and the next minute, you ain’t. How do you describe the look of a comic story that you can’t put down? That stays with you after you read it?

The dream life is such a minefield in The Fade Out: you can be a washed up womanizing drunk, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing in 1948 Hollywood; it’s how you spin yourself into gold that matters. Just keep your mouth shut. Better than ending up dead in a writer’s house!

Please check out this full length (354 pages!) drama about Hollywood. This book should be made into a movie, seriously. It gets my highest recommendation.

Image Comics The Fade Out, $24.99 for 354 pages, Mature Readers

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!