Saturday, March 05, 2005

HAWAIIAN DICK: BYRD OF PARADISE

I had read the first issue of this long ago, was intrigued and entranced, and promptly forgot about it. I picked up the trade paperback recently and have finally gotten around to it... and now my mission is to strong-arm you all into getting it as well. Trust the Shrew and pick this up.

The Hawaiian dick of the title is Byrd, a WWII vet (the story is set in 1953) and former cop from 'the mainland' who has relocated to Hawaii and set up shop as a private eye, aided and abetted by his old Army buddy (and local police) Mo Kalama. Byrd is familiar with his surroundings, but not really a part of them -- he is very much haole (foreign), although his skepticism comes across as more bemused than strident.

The story is a tropical supernatural noir, complete with gangsters, molls, zombies, fruity drinks, fedoras, and guns. Byrd is hired first for a small case and then for a bigger one, but they overlap and snowball into a much larger sort of trouble. While the main story is unfolding, we get bits of Byrd's backstory (but only bits) -- such as why he left his hometown and came to Hawaii -- and see that the other characters aren't nearly as disconnected as they first appear.

B. Clay Moore is responsible for the strong story and Steven Griffin's art is simply luscious. The trade, like a DVD, comes packed with extras: a prose short story of Mo and Byrd's first meeting, character sketches annotated with Moore's and Griffin's comments to each other, a Making Of featurette for some pages, the genesis of the covers, unused art, a 10-recipe tropical drink book complete with illustrations, and the online strips.

Amazon
Deep Discount
... or your local comic shop.

There is a sequel to this, Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort, but it is taking (literally) years to get done -- the first issue was solicited for October 2003 and came out in August 2004, the second was released in November 2004, and heaven knows when the last is coming. Both issues should be available in your LCS.

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