Saturday, February 17, 2018

Reader's Diary #1736- Kris Bertin and Alexander Forbes: The Case of the Missing Men

I'm a sucker for Canadian comics, for parodies, and for artwork with hatching/cross-hatching. With Kris Bertin and Alexander Forbes' first "Hobtown Mystery" set in Nova Scotia, a cover clearly parodying old Nancy Drew books, and pages with scratchy shading that looks like it took forever, I thought The Case of the Missing Men would have won me over much more successfully than it did.

The Canadian setting is fine, I suppose, though it doesn't feel quite real. And, as I'm from the East Coast myself, I expected to recognize it at least a little. But that "not quite real" feeling was pervasive and problematic throughout the entire book. The synopsis on the back of the book refers to the story as "Nancy Drew meets David Lynch." I'm embarrassed to say that I've not actually seen any David Lynch films. I do know that he has a reputation for being weird, and based on that, I'd say the comparison seems apt. Also based on that, I'm guessing I'd not be a fan. It felt more to me like a dark version of Wes Anderson and I've always felt that Wes Anderson must not have had a normal conversation ever in his life. Some quirky characters and shenanigans fine, but nothing about this felt plausible. No one reacted believably. The whole thing was odd. It certainly didn't help that the plot was a convoluted mess that never really got resolved.

This was even felt in the art. Again, I don't want to be too critical as it looks like it took a long time, but expressions and especially movement looked stiff and strange. Joints bent too much or not enough, eyes not focused properly, and so on.

Perhaps it did work as a parody. On this front I cannot weigh in too heavily as it's been years since I've read Nancy Drew (or Hardy Boys or Bobbsey Twins). I doubt, however, that they were ever this weird-but-not-in-a-good-way.

No comments: