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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 41

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at Rick Geary’s A Treasury of 20th Century Murder: Famous Players…


Rick Geary does a series of books about famous murders. They’re absolutely brilliant, and before this year is out, I’ll feature more than one of them.

This time around, it is the mysterious death of Hollywood film director William Desmond Taylor in 1922.

If you’ve ever read one of Geary’s books in this series before, you know exactly what to expect in this volume, and you’d be absolutely correct, as it is exactly like all his other works in this vein – intricate looks at horrible events of the past, done with excellent attention to research but also with a straightforward, yet compelling narrative.

Here is the cover and some sample pages…

Honestly, I really don’t know what else I can say about it.

Geary tells the story in his trademark simple style (along with his hand-lettering), although of course, he is quite attuned to depicting the dress of the day accurately, and he does wonderful work with people’s facial expressions.

Geary is meticulous in his attention to the details of the case, and though it is quite complicated, he makes it fairly easy to follow.

I will allow that this case is a bit less intriguing than some of his other titles, if only because of the relative lack of twists and turns in the case. So Geary has to look a bit more towards the overall background of the victim and the Hollywood scene at the time. Still, it’s quite well done.

This is an extremely well put together historical graphic novel, and I highly recommend it.

(This is basically what I said when the book first came out – BC)


Don’t you just love those little end quotes by Mr. B.C.? ;-)

I haven’t read this particular one by Rick Geary but I read many of the other graphic novels in his true crime series and they were great, so I’m sure this one is no different.

Very interesting. Never even heard of this – one reason why I enjoy your series, Brian, so much. Broadening the horizons.

I don’t think these comics are that good.

They look great and are good overviews of the events in question, but they are dry as a bone. It’s straight reportage in a way I don’t find very compelling. These books can serve to whet one’s appetite over the events covered, but offer too little deep information to be that rewarding to me. Something like Lincoln’s assassination or the Lindbergh kidnapping, in which I’m familiar with the generalities of the case, aren’t further illuminated by these books.

“If you’ve ever read one of Geary’s books in this series before, you know exactly what to expect in this volume, and you’d be absolutely correct, as it is exactly like all his other works in this vein”

That’s part of the problem–they all run together to me. I know I’ve read the volumes on Lincoln and the Borden murders, and I think I’ve read the one featured here, but I can’t even recall which ones I’ve read!

I’m not sure if the books make particularly good use of the comics form, either. Geary chooses to use very little (any?) dialogue, putting a lot of stress on the narration, but the narration and art are often redundant rather than complementary.

I just wish these books were better. They seem like they’ve got a lot of potential, but I’ve been disappointed by all the ones I’ve read.

Matter-Pooper Lad

February 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I’ve enjoyed everyone of these NBM books by Rick Geary. Got ‘em all. This was not the best in the series, though.

I wish more folks were creating intelligent, fascinating works like Geary. Instead of regurgitating Kirby super-heroes. Or worse, cloning the drawings of Jim Lee or manga artists.

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