The New Deal
If y’all read the “Green River Killer” graphic novel from a few years ago, you may be familiar with Jonathan Case’s artwork — and he’s still making cool graphic novels now.
His latest is “The New Deal,” set in New York City during the Great Depression, with most of the action taking place in the luxurious Waldorf Astoria hotel. Our main characters are Frank and Theresa. Frank is a bellhop who tries to keep his nose clean, but has a bit of a gambling problem — hence owing a lot of money to a shady rich SOB — and a slight case of sticky fingers — nothing big stolen yet, but he could get in serious trouble if anyone catches him. Theresa is an African-American maid who really should be working a better job than a hotel maid. She’s also an actress, playing one of the witches in Orson Welles’ so-called Voodoo Macbeth. She’s smart and fairly honest and tries to keep an eye on Frank to keep him from getting into trouble.
And with a bunch of new guests in the hotel and a lot of pressure on the staff to keep the guests happy, there are suddenly mysterious thefts happening left and right — and both Frank and Theresa are being implicated! Can they discover who the real thief is? Can they avoid being sent to prison? Can they avoid being killed? Can they, against all odds, actually come out ahead when this is all over?
Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a great light-hearted little caper, with plenty of twists and turns, villains and heroes and antiheroes, plots, schemes, cops, robbers, gangsters — and a worthwhile happy ending.
The characters were fun, and I felt like the characterization and dialogue were pretty great, too. I really loved the historical setting, and I was pretty excited to learn that Welles’ Voodoo Macbeth was a real thing — lots of cool historical details helped make the setting come to life.
All this, plus Case’s great (mostly) black-and-white artwork, too! You should be able to find this or order this through your local comic shop — it’s pretty much brand new right now — but you can also get it online, too.