Jackson, Rob – Trashcan Private Eye
I won’t tell you why, but I will tell you that this comic ends with a song. And still I somehow resisted the temptation to not use that final page as the sample image! Sometimes this reviewing thing is a sheer test of willpower. So what’s up with this one? It’s a sprawling conspiracy, all with our hero Trashcan P.I. at the center of everything. Things start off with our hero creepily sizing up a young lady who’s come by his office… er, trash can, trying to get help in locating her missing brother. This is where a traditional noir story would begin their romance, but this comic doesn’t go anywhere near that. Possibly because the dude lives in and conducts business out of a bin, which traditionally has been a bit of an impediment in the romance department. So our hero tracks down leads, gets knocked out (which I’m using as a sample image purely because I’ve also often wondered why it’s so accepted in movies to bludgeon people into unconsciousness), and generally spends the bulk of the comic trying to get to the bottom of things. It all spirals into a vast connected gaggle of characters, and you’d better believe that things end in mayhem. I recently watched The Maltese Falcon and was a bit surprised how many of those tropes made it into this issue. Of course, noirs all have at least similar events happening (femme fatale, double crosses, bad guys accidentally telling the detective too much, etc.), so it’s not like I’m assigning any nefarious intent. Besides, all of the ladies loved Sam Spade, so that’s a pretty substantial difference right off the bat. And since I’m not going to tell you all the bits leading up to the dramatic conclusion, I’ll have to content myself and you by revealing a few of the (fantastic) names that Rob has come up with. Wall Face! Big Orange! Smart Guy Eddie! Big Jim Tuckshop! OK, that last one doesn’t even have a cameo, but what a name to put on a mailbox. If you’re already a fan of Rob’s, of course you should give this one a shot. You probably knew that already, as it’s not like the guy makes a lot of stinkers. If you’re new to his work, I’d recommend one of the heftier titles, but if you’re also on a budget and love noirs, you could do a lot worse than this one. If my internal currency converter is even close to correct (it almost certainly is not), then this is roughly $6.