HYDERABAD: Graphic Novels cost too much, they say… But think of it this way – you can read the best graphic novels thrice. The first time, read it for the story. The second time, read it for the dialogues. And the third time, read it for the artwork. So the best graphic novels are very reasonably priced, I would say.
And one of the best pure crime graphic novels is the ongoing series, ‘Criminal’. I have only read the first two storylines of the series, written by Ed Brubaker and with artwork by Sean Philips. No superheroes, no supernatural elements, no mythology, just gritty, tightly written crime stories. I would definitely recommend them to any fan of crime fiction who would like to try something different from the run-of-the-mill.
The first story of the series, named ‘Coward’, was released in 2007 by Marvel. The story is about Leo Patterson, a pickpocket and a thief. He is also an excellent planner of large thefts and heists. He is extremely risk-averse for a person in his profession – he has a few conditions on running a heist.
For folks like me whose knowledge of graphic novels went in only two directions, the ‘Watchmen’ direction and the ‘Maus’ direction, the ‘Criminal’ series came as a happy surprise. I found the stories very Dashiell Hammet-esque. The artwork complements the story excellently - if someone would convert Red Harvest to a graphic novel, this is what it should look like. Strongly recommended, and worth the price.