Written by Matt Garvey
Art by Dizevez
Self Published. Full Colour.
The Story: A man wakes up in a crashed car that has apparently veered off the highway and hit a stag. You can tell that it has hit this animal, as it is sticking out of the windscreen. This man walks through the snow and cold to a local town. Once there, he collapses and is cared for in a bar by the plaid shirt wearing locals. They call the sheriff – and things get a little more complicated…
The Review: I was chatting to Matt recently over a coffee and he told me that this is a story that he has been wanting to write for a while. He had an image of a man coming to in a car with a stag’s antlers sticking in through the windscreen and after working with artist Dizevez, decided he had found the perfect person to carry out the art duties.
Straight out the bag, I am taken by the cover. it’s simple and iconic – and also hints at story and mood. This is probably the best cover I have seen in the small press scene for ages. A round of applause for whoever designed that beauty. Take note, Small Press!
This is a story that follows the rules of Noir. Nobody is purely a hero or a villain, the sheriff has his own selfish agenda and as it turns out there is a beautiful woman who sets many of the events in motion. Matt Garvey dwells within the snowy visuals for just the right amount of time for the art to breathe on you and chill your bones. That long walk to a local town is dealt with beautifully and results in a look up at a blood red sky as the protagonist reaches the town sign. Matt is playing well in this duplicitous thriller sandpit it occurred to me when I saw that stunning visual. This is a story with both style and depth.
The scenes that deal with the flashback that shapes current events in the story are mostly dealt with in black and white and, at times, seem a little bit too washed out for my tastes. The use of narrative-relevant splashes of colour, however, jump starts you out of the lack of richness in the visuals. I say this, but need to point out that the very last page of this first issue is brilliantly realised – and the use of facial acting is about the best you will see in comics, outstanding show-not-tell by the writer and the artist.
(I am treading very carefully here as not to spoil some of the story beats).
This is also a first issue that has a lot of story packed in, yet never seems overly rushed. Moments are left to ruminate and give weight to them. There is much to ponder and dwell on in this first outing.
I have read all of Matt’s comics up until this point (I may even have written a cheeky intro to a collected hardback edition he put out last year) and I think this is the best written of the bunch (although I do have a soft spot for his other series, Chunks). This falls squarely in the Ed Brubaker / Sean Phillips style of storytelling and for that I loved it and cannot wait to see the next issue.
Hurry up! I want to see where this goes….
• Buy white NOIR #1 direct from Matt Garvey here | white NOIR will also be available via the Comichaus app soon
Many thanks for reading.
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.