ComiXology Originals 2021
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Illustrated by Peter Krause
Coloured by Ellie Wright
Lettered by ALW’s Troy Peteri
The year is 1938. The threat of World War II looms over the United States, where Nazi sympathisers and fascists have taken root on American soil in alarming numbers. In New York City, resistance to the American Nazi movement grows amongst the ranks of Jewish-American gangsters. Enter Jonas Kaminsky, a rising small-time gangster who's embroiled in a turf war with Levi Solomon, an old-time mob boss with millions tied up in gambling and booze. When thrown together in an unexpected circumstance, it turns out that the one thing these gangsters hate more than each other is Nazis.
Ya know I had to look up Nazi’s in the United States in the 1930’s to see if this was historically accurate or just something thrown into the story for dramatic effect. Turns out these camps really did exist and that sickens me that we weren’t taught about this in school as if it weren’t something that was important when in reality this kind of hatred was allowed to thrive then as it does to this day. So kudos to Stephanie and Peter for bringing this to my attention and not only providing a great story but education as well.
I am really enjoying the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information are impeccably rendered. The character development that we see through the narration, the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a magnificent job in bringing us and establishing personalities. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages revealing more of the story the more intense and amazing the story becomes.
I am really rather impressed with the way that we see this being structured as well as how the layers within the story continue to emerge, grow, evolve and strengthen. I am also liking how we see these layers here open up new avenues to be explored. These camps, the district attorney’s offer and more all add some incredible depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward are impeccably handled.
Peter is an amazing artist and illustrator. The linework is phenomenal and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail within the work that we see is extraordinary to see. How backgrounds are being utilised to not only enhance and expand the moments but also work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story is immaculately rendered. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a masterful eye for storytelling. The various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a masterful eye for how colour works and when you see moments like the sky reflected in the glass you understand how good the application really is.
I don’t think you realise the history of the Nazi movement and how it wasn’t simply just a Germany thing. Germans worldwide were encouraged to become a part of the Nazi party and to sow the seeds of dissent wherever they were living. The stuff that history books don’t teach is and should be criminal and with stories like this we get to see and learn of things that are as integral to the story as they are to this point and time in history. Bravissimo to Stephanie for the impeccable writing, stunning characterisation and to Peter & Ellie for these mind blowing interiors. The lettering from Troy just looks right and fits this, now if there’d be some Yiddish I’d be a happy camper.