Tuesday, March 17, 2009
BOOKHUNTER by Jason Shiga
That's the case this time, with BOOKHUNTER, a 2007 book by Jason Shiga, published by Spark Plug Comics. As you might guess from the fact that I went into all that stuff in the first paragraph, the book is about libraries. Specifically, it's about library police. Yes, it's set in a weird and wonderful world where the library has its own police force, with all the trappings of standard fictional police forces, including firearms and labs. The most relevant modern description would be to imagine it as CSI: LIBRARY, though it's probably closer to the 87th Precinct police procedurals of Ed McBain (which, of course, were an obvious influence on the CSI type shows), especially since it's set in the early 1970s, so the level of technology is closer to the McBain books when they were good (1956 to around 1980) than to CSI when it was good (2001 to 2004, original show only).
And the art works perfectly as well. Within a few pages I bought in to the world he was showing us completely, and he manages to nail both the action and the expressions better than most professional cartoonists.
This is one of the best books I've read by someone I've never heard of before in ages, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Shiga actually has the complete book online (and in quite a clever format), along with a lot of other comics, but I suggest you see if you can get a print copy first, maybe from your local library, to get the full effect.