Tuesday, January 05, 2016

30 Days of The Fade Out: To Set the World on Fire.

Issue #6 of the Hollywoodland noir comic was released on May 20th, 2015, preceded by a five-page preview and received to positive reviews. The plot thickens as Charlie falls for Maya Silver and Gil begins to "rattle the cages," as the hero would put it in *Batman Begins*.

The Movie.  Following the nearby auto accident of one of Victory Street's contract actors, the location shoot for Shadow of the Valley is cut short, and the cast and crew return from their brief stay in Ojai.  Maya Silver continues her publicity appearances by attending the premiere of a movie in which she has a small part, and she's escorted by Charlie Parish instead of the injured Tyler Graves.

The Murder. Remembering the mystery man from the night of Val's murder and the strange confrontation between Val and Al Kamp in Ojai, Charlie begins to ask questions:  Dottie tells him, probably dishonestly (as we learn later), that the description of the probable producer doesn't ring any bells, but Flapjack Jones hints at sordid parties in Ojai that a young Val Sommers had to attend as a child star.  Meanwhile, Gil asks questions of his own, picking the brain of mystery writer Dashiell Hammett about what a detective would do -- hypothetically -- in Gil's situation; ignoring Hammett's clear warnings about playing such a dangerous game in real life, Gil sends Victor Thursby an anonymous letter saying he knows what really happened to Val and intimating blackmail.

[UPDATE, 1/24:  In our review of issue #10, we see that Dottie did explicitly confirm that she lied about not recognizing Drake Miller by his description.]

Intensified by the stress of knowing about Val's murder and subsequent cover-up, Charlie and Gil's fatal flaws drive the two to isolation.  Worried to the point of paranoia, Charlie doesn't tell Gil about his recalled memory of the man we know to be Drake Miller, and Gil then misinterprets Charlie's silence as a surrender.  He thinks Charlie's given up, so he's taking matters in his own hands.

The narration mentions an interesting, ongoing argument between Charlie and Gil, both chronic drunks, about the effects of alcohol.  Does it remove a person's judgment, his memories, or his inhibitions?  Does it make him a fool, an amnesiac, or a man of action?

It's commendable that the series doesn't just include booze as window dressing.  It shows that, for many pathologies, alcohol adds fuel to the fire.

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