Deer Editor is a modern whodunit written by Ryan K Lindsay, art by Sami Kivelä and lettering by Nic J. Shaw. Bucky, our fearless anthropomorphic journalist deer, stumbles upon a murder in this noir inspired digital only series.
*Minor spoiler ahead*.
Coming across a John Doe at the local morgue, Bucky a writer at ‘The Truth’ newspaper, discovers a cover up involving upper echelons of City Hall. On his journey to unearth the gritty story for his paper, he’ll come across a bartender with an amoral compass, a sleazy Hugh Hefner type character and several corpses.
Bucky will have to use not only his investigative journalism skills but also his additional animal senses of smell, antlers, thick hide and speed to get to the bottom of this life and death story.
I came across Deer Editor through a recent Deer Hacker campaign that Ryan K Lindsay was running for his third volume of this series on Twitter. I hadn’t read any of the previous work nor had I come across Lindsay’s work in the past so I picked up all three digital volumes at the end of the campaign.
I really enjoyed this first volume and I found the story engaging. It has been some time since I sat down and read a whodunit and I was thoroughly entertained by the twists and turns of this noir inspired story. I was wondering how surreal this story was going to be having a deer as the protagonist but surprisingly, it works quite well. I really enjoyed how Lindsay used the animal side of Bucky in further certain panels within the story to further develop story.
The story had a good sense of pace and I quickly read all three chapters of the first volume in a about ten minutes because it constantly engaged me to swipe to the next page. The fact that it ends on a cliff hanger only make you want to pick up the second volume and start reading.
The decision for the story to only be released digitally and to be specially designed for tablet devices worked in the stories favour. It’s the first digital comic I’ve read in this format and it was nice not to have to zoom in on certain panels on my iPad.
The writing was tight and the use of Bucky being the narrator helps to drag you as a reader into this noir story. This is reminiscent of similar style stories in different mediums such as the film Double Indemnity.
The black and white art works very well with this story. One of the concerns I have with B&W art generally is that sometimes you can’t discern features, mood or times of day if the artist does not communicate this correctly. Thankfully this was not the case with Deer Editor. Sami Kivelä really delivers with the art here and again compliments the noir style writing by using great examples of silhouettes and shadows.
When you humanise animals there is always a trade off of how much of the animal you keep against the human superimposition. With style, Kivelä adds a very believable human deer to the unknown corrupt city where the story takes place.
I also appreciated the use of panels in delivering pace to bring into focus certain objects in the scene that the reader should be focusing on.
As I’m trying to become a letterer myself I thought I would spend some time with this oft look part of the comic creation. Nic J. Shaw created a rather reserved approach to the sound effects of this issue. In fact, in most major cape comics you would expect to see SFX when for example a door is kicked open. Shaw goes the other way and leaves a lot of SFX for the readers imagination which in this story is actually a benefit and lets Kivelä’s art shine.
I also enjoyed the deer head silhouette that would signal the start of a Bucky’s narration. Whilst this was most likely a created by the artist, the placement of it I would assume was the Shaw.
The placement of the dialogue is sound sand doesn’t distract from the art and story. So basically does exactly what a good letterer is supposed to.
I really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to finish this review and read the next two instalments. You can still get your own grubby mits on them if you visit the Deer Editor website. The fact the stories can be picked up for a dollar also means your not breaking the bank to read a new piece of work that is really engaging. If you wish to follow Lindsay, Kivelä or Shaw you can find them on Twitter.
Join me next Monday for our next comic review.
N. S. Paul