Posted by: Sally Ingraham | February 24, 2015

Girl Power! (even more of it) Pt. 2

I picked up Ellen Linder‘s The Black Feather Falls Book One at Copacetic Comics in January because the cover was soooo pretty.

The insides of the comic were pretty too, and the series’ strength so far is definitely the glowing colors, strong lines, and detailed settings of the artwork. The Black Feather Falls is a 1920s murder mystery, set mostly in London and starring American Tina Swift. She’s a shop girl, trying to create a life for herself beyond the reaches of her family and a past that haunts her. One morning she witnesses the murder of a homeless war veteran on the street outside her shop. After seeing how little the police care about solving the murder, she takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of it.

She seeks out a newspaper editor whom she vaguely knows, but discovers that he has disappeared without a trace. His secretary, Ms. McInteer (a proud Scottish spinster), is persuaded that something is afoot, and joins Tina in investigating the death of the vet and the disappearance of her boss, which seem to be connected. The ladies continue to team up in Books Two and Three of the series, and their adventures take them from a remote Scottish island to the London docks and the lair of a famous crook. 

The plot could be tighter, but via the artwork 1920s London comes to vibrant life, and so far I’m finding the series to be quite fun. There’s good commentary on the dismal way that the non-officer vets of WWI were treated, too.

I just figured out that the series is available as a web comic at act-i-vate, so I’ll be catching up on Book Four there, as well as checking out the other comics that are being published on that site. Good discovery!

After reading Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics I made a list of all the artists who contributed and added a selection of their work to my TBR list. Almost immediately, but by accident, I found Luke Pearson‘s debut comic Hildafolk at Copacetic Comics. This store has piles and piles of independent and small press comics, and I find such randomly awesome stuff there that I rarely go in with a mission. It’s better to just let the comic I want find me. Hildafolk was buried at the back of a stack of other similarly sized/shaped comics, but the cool geometric borders caught my eye and then Hilda’s face caught my heart.

How could I not take that sweet, blue-haired gal home? Hilda lives in a slightly magical Scandinavian valley with her mother, a little antlered fox-like creature, and the mysterious Wood Man who drifts into their cabin on a regular basis. She goes hiking and draws and investigates troll rocks. She’s delightful, and I think we’re going to be fast friends. Thank goodness there are plenty more books about her!

I thoroughly enjoyed the artwork. The windy meadows and snowy woods are fanciful but familiar, and the balance of mythic and no nonsense adventuring is perfect. I loved when Hilda went camping in the rain on purpose, and the random encounter with a giant (who was lost – those frames make brilliant use of the comic book format!)

I’m excited to read the longer Hilda stories, and whatever else Luke Pearson chooses to scribble and doodle about.

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