Blind Detective Blake 1: ‘Oeuvre’
Written and Drawn by Michael Lomon
The story – An enfant terrible of the London arts scene is murdered and mounted as her own piece in an exhibition at The Victoria and Albert Museum. As the main suspects remain at the scene of the crime the police are called in to investigate. Expert sleuth and museum regular Detective Gabriel Blake is also in attendance and takes over the questioning of the prime suspects. As you would expect Blake is no ordinary detective, apart from being impeccably dressed and in the company of a crow he is also blind.
The suspects are interviewed and all have motive. Blake eventually discovers the true culprit and in good old Columbo style they admit their crime before being dragged away to jail (no spoilers).
There are a couple of graphic shots of injuries and a tiny bit of drug use – but hey ho, this is set in the London arts scene after all?
The review – In its basic terms, Blind Detective Blake – Oeuvre is a game of Cluedo set within the art world. The cover is gloriously representative of the tone of the comic and the character of the detective. The interiors are in black and white with some lovely linework and inking that suits the tone perfectly. It’s a tightly packed story and takes you through the mystery maze of the investigation competently and at no point did I feel lost amongst quite a large cast of characters.
What Michael also does is play with the mixing of two realities, that of classic whodunnit fiction and that of the modern art world, and uses them to twist our preconceptions of both their cliches. We see the Tracy Emins and Damien Hirsts of this world poked and revealed as part of Blake’s investigation. There is no tinkering in East Anglian antiques shops a la Lovejoy in this story. Blake is fully the physical representation of a line of poetry by his namesake. Full of drama and passion.
The mystery itself has that old school Agatha Christie logic and setting to it’s narrative. Each account is meticulously investigated with flashback sequences used to excellent effect. Accounts given by suspects are emotional and real as we cycle through those who could be responsible. The ending ties up the strings nicely and we are left with a full page shot that had me laughing (I won’t spoil it for new readers).
I am kicking myself for not getting the chance to chat to Michael at the recent Thoughtbubble festival (where this book was launched) but this is well worth a look for. Hopefully this will not be the last that we see of Gabriel Blake.
• If you head over to www.michaellomon.com you can get a copy of the book. If you plump for a digital copy it’s priced on a donation basis.
Many thanks for reading.