American Gothic Press 2015
Written by Steve Niles & Philip Kim
Illustrated by Piotr Kowalski
Coloured by Dennis Calero
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
I am in love with this book and with Hank Barrymore! The throwback setting of Hollywood’s golden age as the backdrop for a movie’s monsters come to life tale is perfectly done. These guys have captured the era, tone, feel and look in such a way that this is something i’d love to see done on the big screen as it’s really that good.
After last issue Hank knows he’s been played by his client and goes to see her for an explanation. Knowing full well what he’s getting himself into and what’s going to happen in this meeting he allows it to go the distance. There’s still something off about Mrs. Forrester and it’s apparent from the moment we met her but then again she’s the classic Dame of the story that convinces the Private Dick to help her out and she does that exceedingly well here.
On a side note here there’s a reason I love Piotr’s work and it’s clearly evident in his portrayal of these characters. Hank’s naked body in silhouette and getting dressed with just that right amount of exposure, and the happy trail, is evocative and classy.
Back at his office while drowning his troubles, the ones he’s gotten himself into by the way, he receives a visitor. Oh the tension here too was great and although it’s just Buck the reporter. God the writing here really is spectacular as Buck is integral to the story. This is a time when the internet was science fiction and a good reporter had his ear to the ground and contacts everywhere. The way this is portrayed here really epitomizes that whole era. Buck’s knowledge is encyclopedic in its weirdness and that’s what useful here.
So the boys go to meet Buck’s friend who may hold some answers that they need about what’s happening at Monster World Studios. Pretty much immediately Wilson is unnerved by the conversation and it’s almost like he knows they are being watched and ushers them out. There is one man whose name keeps coming up however and I look forward to Hank actually getting to meet and know him.
So the gist of what’s happening in town is kind of explained but enough is left open so that there’s still plenty of opportunity to really have it fleshed out. Buck having no encounters yet is skeptical of what he’s been told until tonight. As events unfold before him there leaves little room for doubt that monsters do in reality exist and they are being set upon them. Someone wants the disappearance of Mr. Forrester and the murders at the studio to remain a mystery.
So there’s more to Hank’s background than we knew. Next issue we’ll learn more about that if the covers any indication. In the meantime you need to get lost in this world because this is the kind of story that evokes so much memory and longing in the reader. This is what a classic feels like.