It was one of those books that stuck off the shelf way too far, beyond the other books, a book people like me hate to put on their shelves because it just doesn’t fit right. So, clearly, I had to see what this offensively long book was titled, and if it was worth the size. Now, I’ll admit right here, I read fiction, mostly adult and young adult contemporary stuff. Graphic novels are not my favorite, nor do I have a wealth of knowledge on the subject. That being said, this one blew my mind! It was just… so fucking cool. The pulp aspect was a huge draw, the art was phenomenal, and the story was excellent. I devoured the book this evening.
The Private Eye is set in 2076 after the cloud burst, which led to everyone’s personal information being everywhere. Lives were wrecked, families destroyed, and, ultimately, the internet, cell phones, and electronic devices were banned in response. People took up costumes and different names to protect their identities. The United States was a completely re-imagined place, both retro and futuristic in its details.
The main character is P.I. He’s this twenty-something guy who illegally works as what we think of as a private investigator. We learn a great deal about P.I. through the story, yet by the end, I wonder how well I really knew him. P.I. was like a young Bruce Willis in my mind; he was kind of a self involved bad ass, but you love him anyway. And, of course, the bad ass always has heart.
My favorite character in this whole damn book is P.I.’s grandfather. This man was drawn so damn brilliantly! He was hilarious, caring, crazy, and fearless. Gramps is an aged hipster sporting tattoos and spouting a constant stream of how he can’t get his electronics to work. I love Gramps. I love Gramps for his words at the end. For his belief.
The world Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Munsta Vicente have created is well thought out, interesting, and both terrifying yet oddly attractive. How long can we get away with putting all of our trust in technology before it comes back to bite us in the ass? Our phones can pay our bills, buy us lunch, navigate our vehicles, respond to voice commands, take videos and upload ANYTHING EVER to our social networking sites. It’s kind of terrifying. And, like every good response, society takes the cloud burst and runs so far the opposite way, there is little to no connections made in the not so distant future society we are shown.
I found this book at my public library, but it turns out there is a website, http://panelsyndicate.com/ , where the creators of the comics give their works to people for whatever they are willing to pay. Straight from creators to readers. I love this site.
Check it out. It’s worth the time for Gramps alone.