Ginger Nuts of Horror
CASEFILE: ARKHAM: HER BLOOD RUNS COLD. A ‘HANK FLYNN P.I.’ GRAPHIC NOVEL.BY JOSH FINNEY AND PATRICK MCEVOY.
I come to Casefile: Arkham as a total noob where Lovecraftian works are concerned. I actually own the complete collected works of H.P. Lovecraft, and have done for quite some time, but to me it’s something akin to the Holy Bible in that it’s an enormous book full of archaic stories. I read the Bible when I was a kid, it took a long time and was tedious to say the least. I’m assuming that Lovecraft’s works will be somewhat similar as there’s a plethora of ridiculous names and dull text to wade through. It’s something I intend to wade through at some point, but I’m a busy guy so I need my input to be more ‘bite sized’. Comic books and graphic novels serve that purpose beautifully. When I got my paws on Casefile: Arkham I didn’t know it was anything to do with Lovecraft, so after a few pages I was a little disappointed as it will obviously make less sense to me than it would to a fan of the referential source material.
Hank Flynn P.I. is a standard cliché Irish ex-military hard-drinking hard-boiled gumshoe with more than a passing resemblance to Robert Mitchum and the story is crafted in a similar style to the old fashioned detective movies Mitchum starred in but with a supernatural storyline. On the subject of resemblance I found that although for the most part this graphic novel is expertly presented and the draughtsmanship is fine, there’s a jarring inconsistency with the characters in that what I read and what I see don’t always tally. Flynn does look very Robert Mitchum, but sometimes more like Sean Penn or other random faces. It’s not just Flynn either, the character Derby had subtle changes where in one frame he resembles Kirk Douglas but in another Harrison Ford, which to me was a little confusing. I’m not saying it’s a big deal or that it ruins the graphic novel but it was just something I think could have done with a tad more attention as in general the artwork and layout is fine, we’re not talking Frank Miller kind of fine, but certainly good enough and the general overall feel reminded me of many a comic I’d read in the 70s.
Edward Derby is a socially elite but likeable character who gets way out of his depth when he approaches Flynn for help, largely incoherent, brandishing a gun and obviously not in control of his faculties. This is the beginning of a complex and intriguing storyline involving the Derby family and a cult worshipping a Sumerian God’s spawn with which they have interbred.
I have to admit that if I had read a plot synopsis on this I wouldn’t have read the novel, mostly because of the Lovecraft connection, but if I had done so I would have missed out as I found this to be bordering on excellent. My previous comments about the minor inconsistencies in the characters’ looks are certainly not enough to overshadow my enjoyment of such a powerfully realised work of detective fiction. Especially as creating a comic is difficult enough, a graphic novel a much harder task but one with such strictures of the genre elements to begin with would for me at least be a project I couldn’t perceive tackling. With many graphic novels I found that some may have superior artwork and no story, whilst others have a fantastic storyline but are let down by artwork, this graphic novel has no deficit, very much reminding me of John Wagner, Alan Grant and Robin Smith’s 1989 four part black-and-white comic book ‘The Bogie Man’ . Given the contribution the aforementioned gentlemen have made to the comic book world it is safe to say that Josh Finney and Patrick McEvoy are in excellent company.
If you are a fan of Lovecraft I can assume you’ll enjoy this, doubly so if you are a fan of detective fiction in the style of Raymond Chandler. I am not much of a fan of either, yet there was still so much quality storytelling here that I’m not disappointed and can thoroughly recommend Casefile: Arkham: Her Blood Runs Cold.
Make a date in your diary for this one as it is released from:
March 5th 2018.