Saturday, December 26, 2015

30 Days of The Fade Out: The Wild Party.

The Fade Out Number One: "The Wild Party"

The debut issue of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' The Fade Out sets in motion parallel projects that the series will follow evidently to its conclusion with issue #12, namely, the production of a noir film at Victory Street Pictures and the mystery surrounding the covered-up murder of the film's lead actress Valeria Sommers.

The Movie.  After Val's body was discovered, production was temporarily shut down for Shadow of the Valley; with the production already delayed by numerous rewrites, the director Franz Schmitt tried to work around her absence but was stopped after being physically accosted by lead actor Earl Rath.

The Murder. Writer Charlie Parish had woken up in Val's bungalow in Studio City, and upon discovering her body, he tried to erase any evidence of his being there, consequently scrubbing the crime scene of evidence of the murderer as well.  Grilled by the studio's security chief Phil Brodsky, Charlie discovered that her murder was covered up to look like a suicide.  Torn up by his unintended complicity in the cover-up, he spills his guts to his blacklisted friend and ghostwriter, Gil Mason.

This driving motivation for so much of Charlie's subsequent actions is captured in the key quote from the issue.
"Studios had been covering up murder and rape and everything in between since at least the Roaring Twenties.
"That's what men like Brodsky were there for... to prevent scandals.
"And he'd helped them this time.
"He helped them."
Will the film be completed and released, and what will Charlie do in the face of a conspiracy?  The next eleven issues slowly reveal the answers to both questions.

UPDATE, 12/31.  ...and, we'll slowly fill in the gaps of Charlie's sketchy memory of the night of Val's death, the "wild party" and who was with him when he left.

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