If it were still the nineties (or even the early 2000s), The New Deal would be the hot Vertigo book with TV or movie buzz. How could there not be? It’s perfect. It’s got two strong female protagonists and one lovable, but not dismissive, male protagonist. Creator Jonathan Case goes a little overboard with the celebrity name dropping, but he’s doing it affectionately.
And the idea of someone not caring about being directed by Orson Welles in 1936 is kind of awesome.
There’s a peculiar pace to the comic too. Dark Horse didn’t go with a limited series, even though the comic is split into four thirty-two page chapters, and it’s hard to say if Deal would read as well in multiple sittings. The art would still be fantastic, but Case employs a few too many red herrings. They’d get annoying stretched out over four months. Over forty minutes or so, however, the red herrings just become part of the comic’s texture.
The format also allows Case’s art room to breathe. He’s got a lot of detail in the setting, but he’s more interested in the characters and how they interact with one another. He paces out conversations beautifully. He never quite goes long enough to call it “talking heads,” either. And he manages a lot of visual expression humor in a realistic style.
Maybe I just want it to be a Vertigo series from twenty years ago because then it would definitely get another series. Case sets it up beautifully; it’s a complete change from the beginning of the comic, but an entirely reasonable resolution.
It’s an awesome book.
Writer and artist, Jonathan Case; editors, Spencer Cushing and Sierra Hahn; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.