Deer Editor #1
A John Doe slaying lures a journalist into a world of political intrigue, a wi-fi-enabled grotto, and a station locker full of secrets. For Bucky, an editor of the crime beat at “The Truth,” it’s all in a day’s work…
…but he also happens to be a deer.
Bucky is the editor of the newspaper The Truth. He’s also a deer. Deer Editor began life as a Kickstarter where it found support and success. It’s coming to print now for the first time–re-edited, re-colored, and re-lettered.
Bucky is visiting a hospital morgue as Deer Editor #1 opens. He responded to a tip from a doctor examining the body of John Doe. The deceased was carjacking a woman before doubling down in pain or panic and then getting killed by an onrushing car. It’s not much to go on, but it piques Bucky’s interest. The investigation takes him to a dive bar, a grotto party, a soup kitchen, and a mayor’s mansion. And people make threats on Bucky’s life more than once before the issue is done.
Deer Editor is aimed squarely at fans of crime fiction and especially the hard boiled sub genre. Bucky isn’t a detective, but in his investigative role putting together this story for The Truth he might as well be. He also isn’t an anti-hero, but he frequently comes across as morally dubious–especially when it involves getting to the bottom of the case.
Bucky’s nature as a deer is unremarked on. His physical attributes and senses do play a part in the story (in Deer Editor #1 his sense of smell helps him find clues more than once and he is able to pin an assailant to a wall using his antlers). But as far as the world at large is concerned, all of this is perfectly normal. This obviously distinguishes it from a book like Blacksad which has a very similar story sensibility (though featuring a detective rather than a newspaperman), but is populated entirely by anthropomorphized animals.
Deer Editor #1 is fast paced. The slow, deliberate start gives way to a quick advancing plot in no time. Much of this is accomplished via Bucky’s interior monologue. As is the case with the protagonist in any good hard boiled story, Bucky’s thoughts are front and center in captions throughout the issue. At times the writing leans a little too heavily into genre tropes, but it is consistently engaging and captivating.
Bucky’s investigation is methodical. Certainly readers won’t be guessing whodunit in this issue, but there are no leaps of logic from Bucky that couldn’t be deduced from the clues that have been presented to that point. Lindsy shows a clear command of the genre and the typical construction of stories within it.
Kivelä’s art is surprisingly soft. It’s not uncommon for comic books in this genre to be drawn with hard angles, heavy inks, or an excess of lines. These often contribute to a sense of an oppressive world, which in itself reinforces the genre’s sensibilities. That’s not the case here. Kivelä makes the world a relatively pleasant, ordinary place. The characters, whether attractive or less so, are similarly nondescript. It’s an interesting juxtaposition for a story about murder and corruption.
Affe’s use of blue scale coloring similarly livens the book up. Once again, black and white would not be a surprising choice for a book in this genre. But the choice to use blue scale uplifts the artwork. Once again, this doesn’t look like a broken, corrupt world even if people and events in it are.
This a captivating, energetic first issue, moving at an unstoppable clip even in its slow moments. Bucky is an engaging character–almost too gruff to be likable but clever and introspective. The mystery is slow developing and compelling. Deer Editor #1 is a must buy for everyone who loves a hard boiled mystery.
Deer Editor #1 is available to order until Monday, December 11 and arrives in your local comic shop on January 10, 2024.
Deer Editor #1: Bucky’s On The Case
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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