One You Want 004: Old City Blues, Archaia
Posted by Joe Keatinge on Jul 19, 2011
Each week a lot of comics hit the stores.
Some you’ve heard of. Some you haven’t.
Some have superheroes. Some don’t.
They might be comic books, they might be graphic novels.
This is the One You Want.
THIS WEEK: OLD CITY BLUES, written and illustrated by Giannis Milonogiannis, Archaia, 128 Pages, $14.95
I’m excited about Tomorrow.
Big T, as in What The Future Will Bring.
Last time I touched on how the evolving business models within the comics industry has me ecstatic for how the future will work. How I believe brick and mortar comic shops, digital, self-distribution, multiple distribution, social networking, new markets among much more will work together to deliver an increasing variety of material to a growing market.
That said, you can’t have a strong industry without an even stronger medium. For a stronger medium, you need a fresh supply of new, interesting and exciting talent to take it to a new, interesting and exciting direction. I feel like we’re in the beginnings of a Golden Age for such talent. It started in the early to mid 2000s as communications and social networking improved to bring talents and influences together on a global scale. I think it will explode as the industry catches up.
Giannis Milonogiannis is one of the most prime examples of this new talent era.
I can see his influences, sure, whether they’re direct or not. I can detect a little Hergé, a little Sienkiewicz, a little Katsuhiro Otomo and a lot of Masamune Shirow. He’s the World Comics style prophesied by Paul Pope fully realized, in which influences from the world over mash up to creator something new and different.
OLD CITY BLUES, Giannis Milogiannis’ cyberpunk adventure collected by Archaia, defines ‘new and different.’
Like his art style, you can see his direct and indirect influences. I see where Philip K. Dick lives within the words as well as I see William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. It’s all there, but, man, it goes in a completely different direction.
The description might read familiar. A detective discovers a series of cyborg murders throughout New Athens, the sprawling city-state emerged after the original Athens was devastated. Over the course of the first chapter, it’s obvious these aren’t random, despite what everyone wants him to believe. You’ve read this before, right?
No, you haven’t. Not like Giannis pulls it off. Like any good story, it’s like the plot and more the execution. Any great work can be broken down to the basics and it sounds like all the same damn thing. Lex Luthor may have finally defeated Superman? It could be any annual from the early 90s or the absolutely brilliant All-Star Superman. Sad sack is sad about sad stuff? Well, it’s either your buddy’s crappy mini-comic or Jimmy Corrigan.
You get my point.
OLD CITY BLUES is the All-Star Superman and Jimmy Corrigan in this equation. How Giannis mashes up aspects of the cyberpunk sub-genre and even some sub-sub-genres creates something new and wholly his own. There is an element of this being someone’s first major work and you can definitely see the potential more than the complete realization of that potential, but considering how far ahead he is of most people at the same stage in their career, I am abundantly ecstatic for where he’s going from here.
OLD CITY BLUES, a 128-page full color hardcover for $14.95, is available in-stores on July 20th, 2011. Look for your local comic shop by going to http://comicshoplocator.com/.
Joe Keatinge is the Eisner and Harvey award-winning co-editor of POPGUN and writer of the upcoming Image Comics series, BRUTAL, with illustrator Frank Cho. He lives in Portland, OR and works out of the comics studio, Tranquility Base.
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