The Fade Out, Vol. 1: Act One by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One word for this graphic novel. Atmosphere. I definitely felt like I was in the late 1940s Hollywood. But the real Hollywood, not the glamorous, shining synthetic world that so many people in the industry tried to project. The point of view is from a screenwriter deeply immersed in the studio system who was emotionally broken by his war experiences. He wakes up in a bedroom and finds the body of the starlet in the next room. The star of the movie he's been working on. The list of suspects is long, and even if they aren't the murderer, most of these people aren't blameless and are far from innocent.
People like to say that the depths of depravity in society has gotten worse. I don't think so. I think people have gotten more blatant in their dark desires, but they have been doing anything under the sun for gratification since the beginning of time. This book shows that very dark side of Hollywood that swallows people whole, brings out the very worst in its denizens, exploiting their weaknesses and insecurities and their desire to be famous regardless of the cost. It features the wolves and the lambs (although the lambs aren't without blemish), and the bottom-feeders of the industry.
The artwork was alluring and perfectly paired to the narrative. It conveys the feel of a hardboiled, noir mystery, although the artist is not afraid to use color. I love the style of the 1940s, and I found myself a student of the character design in this book. It's done in such a way that it doesn't give a misleading tone of brightness that is completely opposite to the story.
This ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, in that there is no resolution of the mystery, but instead a big breadcrumb for the reader to follow in the next volume. I need to know, so I'll keep reading.
View all my reviews