It’s the best damn comic you’re not reading.
Q: What is Fallen Angel?
A: Fallen Angel is a monthly gothic horror comic from IDW Publications, written by Peter David with art by JK Woodward.
Q: Gothic horror?
A: Well, American gothic. The series is set in the strange city of Bete Noire, Louisiana. Bete Noire is a strange town, full of strange people, and has a lot of mystical things going on at any given time. It’s said to be “The city that shapes the world,” although what exactly this means is not quite clear. Bete Noire is ruled in the name of the mysterious Heirarchy by a Magistrate, a title passed from eldest son to eldest son since the beginning of the world.
Q: So where does the fallen angel come in?
A: The Fallen Angel is a woman named Lee who has appointed herself a kind of troublemaker/helper in the city. People come to her with problems, and if she feels that they deserve her help, she gives it. This often runs counter to the plans of various ne’er-do-wells among the city, including the Magistrate, the local madam, and other nasty types.
Q: Tell me more about the cast.
A: Besides Lee, there’s her confidant, Dolf, who runs Furor’s, the local bar. Dolf may or may not be a Nazi war criminal long thought dead; it’s best not to broach the subject. Then there’s Black Mariah, a major player in the city who’s got some unusual power of her own and little love for either Lee or the Magistrate. The major player of the city’s drug trade is Asia Minor, who has an affected chop-socky accent and a grain of what passes for a conscience. There’s another angel, Malachi, an old associate of Lee’s who recently switched vocations. Minor players include the investigator Slate and Benny the Snake (if you’re lost and he offers you help, keep walking). And then there’s the Magistrate, Juris, his wife Xia, and his sons Jude and Jubal, best filed under “don’t go there” as far as the Angel’s concerned.
Q: How many issues are there?
A: The title ran 20 issues in its first volume, from 2003 to 2005, from DC Comics. After being cancelled due to lackluster sales, it moved to IDW late last year, beginning a new volume, of which 5 issues have been published so far. The first volume was drawn by David Lopez; the first six issues of that volume are available in trade paperback from DC.
Q: So why’s it good?
A: Ultimately, the same reason any series is good: Top-notch art and writing. Peter David is doing some of his best work ever on this series; the characters are all crisp and original, and the dialogue serves them well. The subject matter, as you might expect, is heavy and sensitive, but it’s treated with real maturity (as opposed to the killin’-and-swearin’ brand that passes for “maturity” in most comics) and gravity. On the side of the art, Woodward’s painted pencils are suitably dark and murky, reminiscent of Sienkewicz at the height of his career, and heighten the moral and thematic tone of the book. Overall, the book is a remarkable and meticulously skilled production from everyone involved.
Q: Where can I buy Fallen Angel?
A: Your local comic store should be able to order the current series for you; if not, try IDW’s website at www.idwpublishing.com. For the DC series, buy the trade on Amazon.com, or try the back issue bins. And, of course, Fallen Angel news can be found on Peter David’s weblog, at peterdavid.malibulist.net.
Q: What’s the cover price/frequency?
Q: $3.99 per issue, published monthly. That’s a little higher than the industry norm, but it’s in line with IDW’s other titles, and it’s worth it for the production values and story quality of the title.
Q: Will IDW publish a trade of the new series?
A: Nothing’s been announced yet, but it’s likely.
Q: What about Bird-brain? Or Chance? I liked them!
A: … Get out of here before I beat you.