Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente collaborated to bring The Private Eye first as a serial pdf comic delivered on panelsyndicate.com in 2015. I serendipitously purchased the beautiful hardcover print book from Image Comics this past month for the library collection. Boy am I glad that I did, too.
The story share elements with classic noir pulp fiction and film and it is set in the late 21st Century. Eerily prescient foretelling of our possible future is center-stage in a world where every one protects their privacy by wearing masks and the internet is a folk tale from the past.
The vision is breath-taking and luscious and Martin’s artwork is spectacular and graceful. I read the whole thing in one night and could not put it down. The characters are surprisingly textured and the mystery drives the plot forward.
For a writer or illustrator, or even a graphic novel enthusiast, the most useful and enlightening part, though, is the final afterword section: a series of information “leaks” that give us a glimpse into the creation of this project and the collaboration of the artists. Seeing some of the evolution of characters and plot is really useful for aspiring writers/artists, and The Private Eye gives it to you with more honesty and clarity than most “Making of…”-types. Highly enjoyable and highly recommended.