- Story:Christopher Mills
- Art: Rick Burchett
- Cover: Rick Burchett, Dario Carrasco, Ian Sokoliwski
- Publisher: Action Lab Comics
This week, we look at the elegant, classy, and cool Gravedigger #1 starring Digger McCrae from the established web series Gravdigger Quest. While Action Lab Comics decided to go with colors for the sinfully wonderful art, I adored that they went with the black and whites in the guts of the books pages. Bear in mind that this is my first introduction to McCrae, and this cat is straight out something Elmore Leonard and Gregory McDonald wrote because I dig a pulp noir vibe. Gravedigger #1 gives on off from the very first panel. It feels like real gangsters and underworld types talking without any cheap dimestore dialogue.
Christopher Mills finds a jazzy sweet sweet spot in southern Florida that just swings. The Cuban cartels are still a thing of the future and Miami is still “Vegas-Lite.” To quote GoodFellas, “it was a glorious time.”
Gravedigger #1 gives us a story that quickly sucks us into the action. We learn that Digger is on some hard earned R & R in the sandy beaches of Florida. He is staying at an affable hotel for his sort that’s run by a new wave wise guy. Of course, Digger happens to be bedding the boss’ daughter, much to the chagrin of the boss’ hotheaded crew. On the other hand, he’s got the OK with actual boss/father which is what really counts here. I liked the alternative open of the story with the murder of the aforementioned daughter already being swept up and the chase for McCrae is on. Clearly someone wants McCrate, an ex-something or other, to get out of town, and fast. McCrae is drawn almost as a dead ringer to a young Lee Marvin or even an early George Peppard. Not young but definitely not old; still a killer ladies man and a man’s man. He’s got that old school kind of cool. With barely a grin, he makes it work as a character you want to root for, despite not doing a heck of a lot.
As far as the art goes, you really don’t even notice that the glorious pictures are in black and white. And that’s a big time compliment in my book; usually, it’s always nice to have color. Here though, it did not enter my mind once. The two dynamic covers in color were more than enough for me.
In the hullabaloo of the murder case, McCrae finds himself in the backseat of a scorned vixen from another hotel on the strip. Upon arrival at the hotel just five minutes away, it turns out that McCrae and the comely woman’s husband actually did a job together some years back in New York. You know where the rest leads, and from there McCrae needs a place to lie low while the murder blows over . McCrae reminded me of a more threatening “Chili Palmer” but instead of his wits, he lets his skills do the work as some sort of government expat with the skills to back it up.
Had I known that this was already a popular noir web series, I would have gotten on board long before today, because now I am hooked. If the dialogue does not do it for you, God only knows why because it is spot on and fits like a spring training fastball. The art takes the words and elevates things to a whole other level bringing the character of Gravedigger McCrae to that of budding legend in the shady world of noir.
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