Tag Archives: Detective

Green River Killer – Review!

16 Jul

Green River Killer is a based-on-a-true-story fiction comic that delicately presents humanity in a murder story.  Now, this humanity isn’t necessarily directed towards the murderer, although it doesn’t rail against him.  Instead, the comic asks why or what would lead a person to do these things.

The comic does not present the story from the perspective of the killer who may or may not be caught at any given time, but opts to focus on the lead investigator detective Tom Jensen.  Writer Jeff Jensen happens to have great knowledge of the case on the detective’s side since Tom Jensen is his father.  A certain amount of authenticity is brought to the story with this relationship.

Prior knowledge of the story is not needed to enjoy the comic, although it helps to have a clue.  For instance, I lived in Tacoma – about half an hour south of Seattle – and had some familiarity with the serial murders.  Most of this, however, came from those true life cheesy recreation stories on TV.  I didn’t live through this like many people in the area did, but I had heard about it.  Actually, coming to this story without much previous knowledge allows you to be more drawn into the story without over-analyzing everything.

The writing strikes a chord because you become so heavily invested in Tom Jensen’s mission, and he becomes real to you without ever meeting the real life Tom Jensen.  He is a man with burdens upon his shoulders and a dedication to one sole mission; he’s someone you can rally behind.  The writing also shows a lot of the confusion and frustration involved for Jensen and the other detectives even after they bring in Gary Ridgway.  How do you go through with finding the history of a serial killer?

Jeff Jensen manipulates time with the use of multiple time periods without ever losing the reader.  It causes parallels and themes to the story and provides the reader with clues.  You know Gary is the killer, right?  But there’s more to that underneath his 48+ murders.

I’m a sucker for black and white artwork.  I love seeing the raw ink strokes and detail.  The great thing about Jonathan Case is that he adds just enough detail to the scenes while not drawing away the focus.  It’s impressive how subtle his art really is.  He draws a lot of talking heads, but each one has a slightly different expression making no two panels the same.  He can really convey a whole array of emotions with just a slight line manipulation.  Even though it’s a crime comic, Case doesn’t go with the typical heavy shadows which actually benefits the story.  The best thing about the art, however, is Case’s use of splash pages.  I’m usually not too big on splash pages, but there were two in a row where I literally said “wow” aloud.  That’s how gripping the art is.

There were little problems in the comic.  My one worry is the reread factor.  That’s where the art comes in, but it may be hard with a story you already know the outcome of particularly with something from real life.

Overall, the effect of the book mirrors the impact of the splash pages – a big “wow.”  It latched me into the story causing me to read it within one sitting.  The graphic novel truly deserves its recently announced Eisner Award.

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Detective Comics #871: Review!

2 Dec

Let me give a brief summary of a story – not particularly the story in the book:

Ooohhh look, it’s snowing in Tacoma
Ooohhh shit, people in Washington don’t know a goddamn thing about driving in the snow
Ooohhh goddamn, MY COMICS WERE DELAYED BY A WEEK

So, if it seems like I’m riding on the bootheels of other reviewers… well, it’s because my comic shop had some big D-leighs.

Onto the story – the comic book variety:

Scott Snyder rocks it out of the park on this issue on writing duties.  There are some neat quips, some history, and some very interesting things going on in the issue.  In interviews he said that he was bringing the “detective” back into comics, and I do believe he is.  There’s a fair amount of talkie-talkie in the issue, but, hey, that’s how I like (love) my comics.  Action is overrated unless it’s absolutely necessary.  In reality, fight scenes would probably not last 10 pages of doohickey fighting.  I like it fast and brutal to reflect reality.  So, when there’s action, it’s barely seen.  There’s just a bunch of investigating and character development WHICH I LOVE.

Of particular interest was the back-up which almost flowed perfectly with the ending of the main feature.  I am more than okay with paying $3.99 for an issue with so much detail and effort PLUS a back-up.  And the back-up is really good with some relevance to the main feature.  Sure, the writing (overall) falls onto some common plot tropes, but, overall, it didn’t come off as preachy nor predictable.  And, as a good sign of the comic, I want the next issue.

I have to admit that my first experience with Jock was when he did the slasher or whatever thing when Batwoman was rocking the title.  I really have enjoyed him ever since.  And, I have to say, this go-around he seems even better than before.  His lines are very expressive and dirty just like the noir-ish feel the comic needs.  His Batman is near perfection.

On top of that, Francesco Francavilla brings a whole new game to the back-up feature.  This feature reads like a dark and gritty detective tale that will definitely be haunting.  In the midst of it, you get Francavilla’s art which is phenomenal.  In fact, it reminded me of an indie comic.  For awhile, I sort of forgot that the characters have ties to superheroes.  The coloring is fantastic.

But two issues with the comic are: 1.) Bat-Taser in your finger glove… nah… I just can’t believe that 2.) I feel like this storyline could easily be drawn out to 5 issues rather than 3.  It’s moving just a little bit too fast for my tastes.  I’d really like to know more of the details… but, then again, that’s sort of what the detective genre is all about.

Secret Letters (pt.3?)

7 Jun

I have to apologize to the letter senders… well, actually I don’t have to apologize.  I just have to say that I’ve been waiting on actually doing anything amongst the interwebz with these letters because I’ve been consistently busy or otherwise decomposed for the last two months.

I am still rather tired.  So, unfortunately, I will probably not go to as near as much depth with these letters as the past ones.

So, the first three are from April the 12th.  While the last two are from May 6th.

If you wish to get a closer view, right click view image it up.

1.)

First off, yes, that’s Sabretooth’s foot and pudge in the corner there.

I believe one of the bigger breakthroughs I’ve figured out is that every letter from Oakland is more than likely the same person… or, at least, utilize the same printer (at least with the color images) within the space of the last couple months.  Why? On the full color images, the lines from printing so much ink that go horizontally across the image from the printer resetting all are the same.  I didn’t go and check the three from before these 5, but I believe it would be the case.  This even applies to ones that are on card stock or normal computer paper.

I’m not sure where the quote is from, but I enjoy the interplay of it with the image.  Very succinct, so I’m not sure if it’s an excerpt from a longer poem or something similar.  If you know what it’s from, let me know.

2.)

This is a completely different handwriting style on the envelope, but the stamps are the same (nutcracker + jewels).  The poem is a little creepy considering the last stanza is “I am in love with where I am/But more in love with you.”  Unlike the San Jose letters/works, this poem is not blocked out with white text boxes.

I’m not sure about the poem.  It’s a little generic except for a couple of parts.  The most telling stanza, I would imagine, is the second with “The cliff behind the beach still invents/Shades of colour at sunset and now/The sea is stippled with a silvering.”  Help, anyone?

3.)

So, the quote on this one was pretty easy considering it’s the fatalistic, machismo, sexing words of Achilles in The Iliad.

Oh, and I named my Lugia “Iliohn” in Pokémon after Ilion aka Troy…

The paring of this image with the quotes is ingenious.  Congrats on that one, letter writer(s).

The handwriting on the envelope looks like a boy’s handwriting.

4.)

This image did something different.  It included the typical text paired with image and an additional sheet of paper with (possibly) a short story on it which I could not tell if it was either fiction or non-fiction.  Both items have to do with music.  The text piece about being a “musician” and the expectations it creates while the poem involves Mozart.

The image is (to me) obviously from “The Lives of Others”: the German film that one the Academy Award, I believe, two years ago.  I’m a little weirded out by this pairing.  At first glance, the image conveys the listening that the poem talks about.  However, in the context of the basic gist of the film, I can’t help but to believe it emphasizes the power the letter senders have over me whether good or bad.  The man in the film monitors an artist but ends up manipulating evidence so the artist will not (basically) sent to a Gulag.  So, are they monitoring me?  They obviously have much more direct involvement in my case.  Nevertheless, something of interest.

Oh, and the handwriting on the envelope is a cramped version of the one in the first letter.  You can tell they were trying to make it look different, but the “Wheelock Student Center” was a pretty big giveaway with them looking nearly identical.

5.)

The most unsettling part of the image that stands out at first is the circled and very bold “horny.”

Moving past that, I knew that this little embodiment of text sounded familiar.  A simple google search later, and my suspicions were confirmed to find out that they’re lyrics to “My Year in Lists” by Los Campesinos! (which has a very good music video).  I’m glad that my captors of the postal service enjoy Los Campesinos! even if they can get a little annoying after a couple songs.  I really appreciate the amount of effort put into this one.  It’s very detailed even down to the stripes.

From San Jose and the type of envelope was used on the Batman letter.  Only letter so far to use blue ink, if that means anything.  Familiar handwriting.

 

 

Well, thanks letter senders.  Too bad for the slow turnaround, but I promise to make it quicker next time.  I await the next one.  I would say “more hints!” But, that’s basically an underlying current of my psychosis around these letters.

Another Mystery OVGGVI

12 Apr

E's with no bars!

So, I received another mystery letter today.  Well, I probably received it sometime last week, but since I was out on my hiatus from life and didn’t leave my house for four days, I didn’t check my mail box.  This one amped up the game a bit in some similarities and differences from the last two.

First off (not so obvious from the picture), the postcard is different from the other two.  It’s more of a manila color and made of more natural materials, it seems.  The stamp is not some nutcracker stamp, but one of those liberty bell ones.

This is the second letter sent from San Jose, and the writer is the same person.  However, they tried to throw me off by writing in all caps and not barring their “E”s.  Nevertheless, comparing the two fonts/handwritings, they’re definitely the same.

However, this means that the one from Oakland has thrown me for a loops.  Therefore, I still cannot definitively say whether or not this is one or two people.

Norman, help a pal out.

Okay, the inside was a bit easier to figure out.  Despite Rockwell’s name getting cut off near the bottom, it is a definitive Rockwell reprint.  I enjoy how there are also cats.  I like cats a lot.  In fact, Sabretooth is sitting in my lap grumpily licking herself while I try to shower her with kisses… now she’s scratching and biting my arm… what a sweetheart!

The text was a bit harder to figure out where it had come from mostly because I didn’t have a computer for awhile, but Michaela led me on the right track by saying it was Snoopy related.  I was like, “egh? Really?  I’ve never really read Peanuts.”  She insisted… so, I checked.  However, the person in question cut off the quote from the ending.

I received:

It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up. A light snow was falling, and the little girl with the tattered shawl had not sold a violet all day. At that very moment, a young intern at City Hospital was making an important discovery. The mysterious patient in Room 213 had finally awakened. She moaned softly. Could it be that she was the sister of the boy in Kansas who loved the girl with the tattered shawl who was the daughter of the maid who had escaped from the pirates? The intern frowned.

I did not receive:

“Stampede!” the foreman shouted, and forty thousand head of cattle thundered down on the tiny camp. The two men rolled on the ground grappling beneath the murderous hooves. A left and a right. A left. Another left and right. An uppercut to the jaw. The fight was over. And so the ranch was saved. The young intern sat by himself in one corner of the coffee shop.  He had learned about medicine, but more importantly, he had learned something about life.

Sure, this may have been a bit too much to include, but the latter half at least ends on more of a positive note.  This is my first time reading this, so I may be just raw, but does anyone else get the feeling that the boy in the Kansas is Clark Kent?  It’s a stretch, but still.

Also, this card stock with the painting was from an April 2006 calendar from Stephanie Golden’s real estate from Coldwell Banker.

Any clues, Steph?

However, the most interesting part of the entire letter was the code written on the inside of the envelope.

Oh shit.

It’s really difficult to type when Sabretooth is trying to bite my arm.  Anyway, I figured the code out fairly quickly in my English class today partly because of my tonsillitis induced hallucinations or something… I’m deathly ill at the moment which sucks since I’ve never really been seriously sick before.

Anyway, I was a bit confused by the code until I picked up on the double O’s with H’s on both sides of the last section.  Then I knew that the code was a backwards alphabetical code with each letter shown representing the opposite letter in the alphabet.  Therefore, the message translated to:

“NICE BATMAN DETECTIVE SKILLS”

Therefore, the sender must be a reader of the blog.  Also, it suggests that my conjecture over the person being blond to be true along with some other hypotheses.

This was definitely a nice twist to this little game we’re playing, and I’m rather enjoying it.

Naturally, this is the point where I say I want to know more about Who, Why, and What.  But, I think this person is holding out on me for a purpose.  Nevertheless, another coded message would be fun.  You could create your own code and provide a key.  I used to make codes all the time… I was in Boy Scouts.

Anyway, this is great and you’ve brought some enjoyment and variety into my life.  Like I said (lightly and with a slight rasp) over dinner tonight, “I’m keeping all of these letters so when I die they can collect them as artifacts in a museum all about my life.”

A little conceded, yes.  Really interested in you (one or two or more plus four), yes.

I think I’m going to go listen to Andrew Bird’s “Not a Robot, But a Ghost.”

Now, it’s time for me to send you a secret message, dear letter sender.  First, I’ll give you a hint in your own code to help you decode, and you may find other hints amongst the tags.

XZVHVI XRKSVI XLWV FMWVI X DRGS C ZWWVW GL UFXP DRGS BLF

And here’s my message:

KX JQRG AXQW CTG GPLQAKXPI AQXXWTUGXNH

XUXXKPING RGXTUQP QT OQTXG

JCXG YG OXGV

VXJCPMXUX HXXQT VJG HWPX

Check out the other two letters over hyeyeryryereeeeee!

To the Person(s) Who Sent Me Mystery Letters

5 Apr

I love them.

Now, I understand I’m sort of breaking hate week with this little not-rant.  But, I figured I’d get this up here and let them know that you have my attention.

For those of you not in the know, on Friday, I received two letters in the mail.  One postmarked on March 20th from Oakland (re-routed after the post office misidentifying my school address zip code) and the other on the 24th from San Jose.  The handwriting appears to be different on both of the envelopes (and I have extensively attempted to cross-reference them).  However, they are the same type of envelope with nearly identical stamps on each one with the same artistic concept for each contents.  Right click and choose view image to get nice and up close.

Whoever sent these, I’d like you to know that I whipped out my Batman detective skills on these.  First of all, I found out about this one that it was probably made by somehow made with blond hair.  How did I find this out?  Well, there was about a 3 inch long seemingly human hair in the tape that attached the text to the image.  The image is of some non-plant cell that has been colored in with oily crayon-like tools.  I have not figured out if the text is from anything or original.  Plus, a hand drawn heart is included at the end of the text.

The other one was a bit easier when Michaela instantly recognized both the quote and the painting.  The painting is of Lady Agnew by John Singer Sargent, and the quote is from Shutter Island.  However, the image was folded very quickly and put into the envelope directly after it was printed because of the heavy ghosting of the text on the bottom of the page.

I really enjoy these.  Please send me more.  Give me some clearer hints as to who you are and what this is for.

Everyone needs a good stalker.

Thank you.