Fernández Britten & Stewart Brülightly
Created by Hannah Berry
"Don't be lecherous. You're a teabag."
For those who lament the days when film noir actually meant something more than a mouthful of obscenities, some overly stylized lighting, some ridiculously gratuitous violence and a lot of guys wearing fedoras (Hello, Sin City et al), Hannah Berry's haunting graphic novel Britten and Brülightly is a definite treat.
No, Berry's spot-on tale about a disillusioned private eye slowly going under isn't a movie, but her gloriously murky, almost- black-and-white artwork and near-Chandleresque prose “gets” noir in a way most current filmmakers - and more than a few over-praised and over-hyped “noir” novelists - never will.
London "private researcher" FERNÁNDEZ BRITTEN's long string of domestic cases have left him spiritully bruised and battered, teetering on the brink of an existential abyss, ostracized and alone. Except, that is, for his partner and confidante STEWART BRÜLIGHTLY, a horny and rather acerbic teabag Britten carries in his pocket.
Yeah, a teabag. Really.
After all, he is British. This out-of-nowhere touch - and the large format of the book itself - might suggest a child's storybook, but if it's a storybook, it's one -- with it's bleak untertones and unaplogetically dark conclusion -- aimed to appeal to discerning readers with decidedly adult tastes.
Brighton-based, twenty-something Hannah Berry has contributed numerous illustrations to U.K. magazines. Britten and Brülightly is Berry's first graphic novel -- and it bodes very, very well indeed for her career.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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