a little NOIR-FU for ya

written by Corance,
of the mighty GhostWerks crew

you might not have heard of Dan Fu, but he's one of my favorite writer/artists. I've met him a few times over the years and have enjoyed his work, but he left the scene for a while. So one day, I just decided to Google his name to see if he had something out that I didn't know about, and sure enough I came upon his web-comic, The Retriever.
He bills it as a noir-fu comic, which sounds right up my alley. After reading the first 3 issues, I can say that this comic is pretty awesome!
The first thing that struck me when I started reading The Retriever, is how much Dan's art has improved. The first time I was exposed to his work was way back in the mid 90's when he did a short romantic story in an Antarctic Press anthology. Back then, his art was expressive and subtle, but light and a bit tentative. In The Retriever Dan seems to have surer footing. The black spots required by the noir atmosphere lend his art a weight and gravity without sacrificing the subtlety that entertains the eye.
This subtlety can be most appreciated in the character design. The main character, Jackson Lau, is a cool Bruce Lee in a trench coat; but beyond him, the bad guys, supporting cast and even peripheral back-ground characters have designs that seem well thought out and distinctive. No throwaways for my boy Fu.
The panel to panel storytelling is also strong, which serves the stories well. And it's the stories that are the real attraction here. As subtle and natural as Dan's renderings are, so is the writing. The dialogue is always funny and interesting, which serves a very rich cast. They go through stories that, at first, seem like your common private eye cases; until the twist endings, which are what really make this comic tic. And I hate to call them that because it makes it seem like a cheap trick, but the twists at the end of the stories are actually quite poignant. It's for that reason, I won't get into the specific events of the stories because you owe it to yourself to see them unfold with your own eyes.
But I will touch on the fight scenes; and yes, they do put the “fu” in noir-fu. Ya boy Jackson Lau got madd skillz! This fact is exhibited in the 1st issue in a very humorous, yet definite scene where he takes out a group of thugs led by a pretty tough brother. They way the fight went kinda caught me by surprise, in fact.
So, if stories about people with madd skillz is your thing, here's some phat linkage for you: the-retriever.com
And if you're feeling what he's doing, holla like ya know him!
I am Corance.
in addition to being one-fifth the mighty ghostWerks crew, Corance is a writer, stand-up philosopher, and co-creator of Champion of Children, (the greatest Kids' Comic you've never heard of) and The Sparrow (an urban contemporary martial arts western). now that we have a black president, he is running out of excuses and will probably blow up soon.


Brandon Graham said...

Man, it's cool to see some new Dan Fu stuff. he does great work.

samax said...

this is dope, too!

Corance said...

He says on his site that he's finishing up The Retriever and will have a whole new comic for 2010. Can't wait to see it.

Daystorm said...

I periodically check my statcounter to see where people are coming from.

When I saw a spike recently, I got all curious and wouldn't you know it, it's my Ghostwerks guys! Thanks for the write-up! Most appreciated!

Even a comment from Brandon Graham! Christmas came early... :)

(btw, u know u guys rock... Brandon: loving King City.)


Anonymous said...

Fu ! He's Da Man and tis coming from the Antipodes !
Now where are my autographed copies of Retriever I ordered ages ago ?

samax said...

no problem Dan! can't wait to see more of what you got cookin'!

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