3.08.2012

Entering Crime World

Crime World #3 (Reliable Comics): I once called David King’s Lemon Styles something like “Charles Schulz for the 21st Century.” That dynamic slyly blends an aesthetic that looks like it’s ostensibly for laughs, but there’s a deeper social commentary embedded in the whole thing. We see a cast of characters continually trying to reconcile the way the world is vs. the way the world should be. Crime World borders on being a post-apocalyptic version of that, and comes off as a unique example of world-building. Now, I’ve never read the first or second issues, which may have contained some form of set-up or continuity, so I’ll caveat that I could be off base here, but this seems to be an environment where a “poor” class is subversively created by means other than monetary. Despite having vast amounts of wealth, there’s no guarantee that the people have access to food, clean water, or a consistent power source. This socio-economic condition has saturated parts of the city, and the feeling of despair is so ubiquitous that it’s nearly subliminal what’s actually occurring on the page. It’s millionaires who literally cannot buy food. And it’s simply because there doesn’t seem to be any, hence the rise in crime, and criminal activity in pursuit of that precious commodity. It essentially turns the whole financial system and familiar way of life on end. Like another of King’s projects, The Shortest Interval, it makes for an engaging thought exercise. Visually, King’s black and white style seems faster and looser here than the aforementioned book published by Sparkplug Comic Books, with its relatively lavish production values, and rare bursts of color. Perhaps this is just the pragmatic result of self-publishing or perhaps it’s a deliberate artistic choice, but either way, the result is a visual tone that operates in sync with the crumbling way of life being presented. In some ways, the visual style reminds me of Trevor Alixopulos’ work in Mine Tonight, how seemingly erratic lines reflect the panicked thought processes of the protagonists. Crime World is perhaps less refined stylistically than the aforementioned bounty of Lemon Styles, but is no less energetic or effective in capturing a weird thematic dichotomy in a wholly unique and cautionary world. Track down the series at www.reliablecomics.com Grade A.

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