*Scene of the Crime: A Little Piece of Goodnight — Recommended

Before Gotham Central, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark worked together on this mystery. Jack Herriman is a private eye hired by a woman to find her missing younger sister, who may have become involved with a strange commune-like group. Both she and Jack turn out to have father issues in common; when he was a teenager, Jack was raised by his uncle, a crime scene photographer who helps out on cases. Now, he’s fallen into something he’s at least competent to do while searching for meaning in his life.

Scene of the Crime cover
Scene of the Crime
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Lark’s gritty, down-to-earth figures and settings are just right for Brubaker’s first-person captions, in the classic style of the seen-it-all-too-soon protagonist. Lark makes the many conversations necessary to tell the story interesting with a variety of camera angles. The dialogue is classic tough guy, using sardonic humor to avoid thinking about what he has to deal with every day. This case, in particular, combines sex, drugs, and family secrets, both his and his client’s.

As expected of the genre, we learn as much about the investigator as those he’s investigating. Like those who came before him, written by Macdonald or Chandler, it becomes personal when he gets more involved with his clients than he should. Unlike his predecessors, though, due to his upbringing, Jack doesn’t like anything to do with guns.

After the lengthy main case, there’s a short story also included in the book, a Christmas mystery of sorts. Unfortunately, there weren’t any further cases with this updated hard-boiled detective. That’s a shame, because there’s clearly more depth to the character, with lots of potential for future investigation.

Brubaker dedicates the book to his father, “to give him something he can enjoy for once”, and that’s not a bad summation. It’s a good book for mystery fans willing to try a comic that’s a modern take on the genre they enjoy.


4 Responses to “*Scene of the Crime: A Little Piece of Goodnight — Recommended”

  1. Ian Brill Says:

    Next to Sleeper I think this is the best thing Brubaker has ever written. There are a lot of noir pastiches out there becuase people like “leggy dames” or big tough guys. I don’t think this book is part of that. I think this is a genuinely well written and drawn noir story that has a good mystery, interesting characters and great insight into a generation that noir doesn’t usually cover. I wish Brubaker would write more of these.

  2. Johanna Says:

    That’s what made this stand out for me — the generational aspect, which is part of the essential makeup of the lead character. (I first typed “lad”, which is right too.) He’s well aware that he’s not the typical age or background to be doing this, and how he’s following the path of an earlier generation.

  3. The Fall » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] writer, Ed Brubaker, has a website. He has also written Scene of the Crime, an Eisner-nominated mystery illustrated by Michael Lark; Sleeper: Out in the Cold, a superhero […]

  4. Isotope — The Comic Book Lounge » Put This In Print. I Will Sell It. Says:

    […] up with the idea to bundle it up with Brubaker’s also out of print (and absolute best works) Scene Of The Crime mini-series. The combination of these two lost tales would really fly off the […]

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