Fell is a graphic novel written by Warren Ellis. I’m not that familiar with his work, but I liked this one a lot.
To be honest, I haven’t read many graphic novels in my time. Like all forms of entertainment, 90% of it is going to be “okay” or worse (I apply this percentage to books, movies, comics, music, art, you name it). And when money is involved, it’s hard for me to take a chance on something I don’t know. And there’s a time investment as well. I read more graphic novels at my bookstore in London (because I ordered them) than I ever bought in the decade before.
By comparison, movies and TV shows are easy – minimal time investment, doesn’t cost much (well, unless you go to a theater to watch a movie). But it’s over so quickly, too.
I would rather be lost in a single epic novel (ie Lord of the Rings) for a month than watch a great 2 hour movie, but that worry that the book will be only “okay” (and do you want to spend a month reading “okay”?) holds me back.
Anyway, back to Fell. Ben Templesmith’s artwork is stark and stylized, portraying a city in decay. Warren Ellis’s writing is solid. It’s character and situation based, rather than detailed oriented as you would expect from a police procedural. You could compare it to a place like Detroit, but Snowtown isn’t a real place. It’s a metaphor. Each chapter is a kind of vignette where Detective Fell tries to make a difference, encountering a different kind of madness each time.
It feels both surreal and hyper-real. This world couldn’t exist and yet the people in it do. I did notice a contradiction, too. At one point they said they don’t have the death penalty and another time they said they do. Not sure if that was an accident or what.
But overall this is definitely a story I can recommend. There are more volumes in the series, and I want to read more, but I’m a little disappointed to find that it’s currently on hiatus. I hope the series has a conclusion rather than be left hanging.