Comic Review: The Fade Out #1 by Ed Brubaker
Ed Brubaker continues his love of the crime genre with the new Image release The Fade Out.
Hollywood has always been a dark place where seedy things can happen, especially at the end of its Golden Age. The Fade Out, a new release from writer Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips, is about that unwholesome period in American movie-making. Following the story of screenwriter Charlie Parish, The Fade Out begins as Charlie awakens from a drunken stupor to find himself in his friend Earl’s Studio City bungalow, nursing a headache and barely remembering the last night’s party. Struggling to piece together his evening, Charlie stumbles upon a dead actress – Valerie Sommers – sprawled across the living room floor. Failing to remember how she got there or if he had anything to do with the murder, Charlie clears any evidence of himself from the scene and quickly departs. What then unfolds is a sordid view into a studio attempting to cover up the murder in order to save the hides of their own executives.
Blending a Dick Tracy meets Alfred Hitchcock style of storytelling, Brubaker creates an intense thriller starting on page one. The tone feels very classic, yet maintains an updated level of charm and leaves room for nearly anything to happen to Mr. Parish. The style feels similar to Matt Fraction’s Satellite Sam, which makes sense considering Fraction has praised The Fade Out along with other comic heavyweights Bryan K. Vaughn, Robert Kirkman, Joe Hill, and Kelly Sue DeConnick. Sean Phillips, who has worked with Brubaker before on Criminal and Fatale, designs artwork highly appropriate to the genre and period. Phillips’ artistic anatomy makes it easy to place actors in a possible movie version of The Fade Out and each character feels sublimely special. Unfortunately the “Hollywood scene” doesn’t play much of a character in the first issue, but was merely mentioned in passing when characters were discussing career choices and daily duties. I was intrigued, but hopefully it’s brought more into the forefront of the story as the series continues.
The 24 issue run begins with a bang and hopefully continues its tinsel town crime spree with the same vigor as the story moves forward. Get your popcorn ready for this premiere event and enjoy this showing of The Fade Out.