Cower not, fierce reader! This day, we look at a work a little outside our normal purview of sff and venture into a murder mystery that takes place in the early days of comics. This book even predates a subversive praised mainstream novel that won the Pulitzer, Chabon's Adventures of Cavalier and Klay.
The first crime this book makes is the fact that the original publisher already let it go back to the author, who has enough credibility that Dover was willing to pick it up. Now, this is both a negative and positive for my view of the original publisher, as Berkley was good enough to let him have it back. But they didn't know what to do with it, or I'd have gotten and read it much sooner.
The next crime is simply from that fact. Yes, I can call it a fact when less than a yer after this history based mystery was published, litfic love Michael Chabon got a HUGE push for his Cavalier and Klay novel, which was well researched, but focused extensively on the degeneracy of the characters instead of really telling a story. Collins, on the other hand, with a history in comics(strips and book), as well as research and connections, tells a story that has characters, but not just the characters. There's an amount of proper action, as well as amounts of romance.
The thing that gets me is that Berkley should have been playing up this book as soon as Chabon's hit. It's far more of a love letter to comics, with its flaws and all, encased in a mystery story. People of varying repute moving into a family industry and having ties to the mob with their business? And with the comics panels at chapter breaks by his longtime comics collaborator Terry Beatty, there's a lot more classic comics feel than the "realism" offered by Chabon. Collins admits the his heroes are flawed, and loves them. Chabon twists his into nothing but flaws and thinks you're a bigot if you don't like them.
Collins even writes about some of the causes of comics' decline in here, though with the belief that one could write for adults and still appeal to kids, or vice versa. But, the other thing that this offers is another argument against entryism in ANY field.
8 of 10 fell deeds
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.