Chandler

Created by Jim Steranko

CHANDLER was the eponymous Manhattan private detective hero of Chandler (1976), comicmeister supreme Jim Steranko’s love letter to the hard-boiled private eye heroes created by Hammett, Whitfield, Gardner, Williams and of course, Chandler himself.

One of the very first American “graphic novels ” (although it’s called a “visual novel” on the original cover), this black-and-white 130-page digest pulp edition originally appeared in the seventies, for like a buck or something. It’s –shockingly — never been reprinted, although there were a few different versions. One was a limited edition put out by Steranko himself, and a double-sized newsstand edition that bore the title of Fiction Illustrated Volume 3. Those early editions are all now collectors items, but well worth the hunt, because it’s simply a great and beautiful read.

The cover is nothing particularly special, but inside? Fantastic artwork, all stark shadows and stabs of light, reminiscent of old RKO and Warner Bros. films noir, and a stunningly innovative layout that added, not subtracted, to the dynamics of the story, making this one of the most visually stunning of all American graphic novels.

And, as I said, one of the rarest. Out of print forever, although Red Tide, a deluxe, re-mastered, colourized hardcover version has been promised/threatened for years, and was even once slotted for release by Dark horse in 1999. And then 2011. The closest they got was a 13-page “preview” in Dark Horse Comics #3 in 2011.

We’ll see….

UNDER OATH

  • “More than twenty years after its publication, it still stands as the ne plus ultra of noir graphic novels”
    from Steranko: Graphic Prince of Darkness by Peter DePree & J. David Spurlock

GRAPHIC NOVEL

  • CHANDLER | Buy this book
    (aka “Chandler: Red Tide”)
    (1976, Fiction Illustrated No. 3)
    123 pages
    Written and illustrated by Jim Steranko
    Introduction by Joe Gores

RELATED LINKS

  • Steranko.com
    Steranko’s “corner of the new frontier.” Don’t hold your breath.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks forever to my pal Rick for lending me his copy.

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