From the outside, Los Amores (or Love Town) looks like any other 1940s city. Tall, lanky buildings stand at attention, bearing the weight of metal fire escapes, heavy arched windows, and long, slender neon signs adding repetitive color, like a beacon, to the lost souls of the night. A lone street light illuminates the deserted street like a stage light waiting patiently for company. Silhouetted and framed by one of the tangent back alleys, our two gumshoes wait in earnest for their star.
Love Town is an homage to all of the wonderfully dark noir films of the mid 20th century, and it will not go unnoticed that the fictional city represents Los Angeles, the quintessential locale where movie stars and criminals collided and the cops tried to elicit some semblance of justice or just barely managed to keep the proverbial pot from boiling over. John and Matt Yuan co-wrote and shared art duties, with Ken F. Levin editing, on this new comic book series that will soon premiere from 1First Comics.
In the debut issue, readers are dropped into a late-night stakeout in a questionable part of town. Two cops are on a stakeout; their banter is laced with an undercurrent of violence, just waiting for an opportunity to exert itself and find freedom. The tension is palpable, and readers are immediately drawn taut with expectation of impending action and violence, because the Yuan brothers have successfully pulled in all of the usual suspects – the city, the night, the snappy dialogue, the crime elements – that congeal into a classic noir. They have added a modern twist to the classic that plays exceedingly well… well, you will just have to read the comic to find out more.
Like seeing a city from the air and thinking how magical and inviting it must be, at first glance, Love Town could easily be mistaken for simple and uncomplicated. But don’t let the black-and-white veneer fool you. Look past to the textured shading that adds depth to each scene, not unlike what is used in manga books. All of the panels are either squares or rectangular, containing sharp angles of action, seeking to cut - no, explode - across the clean white, spacious page borders. The visuals seem as though they could easily be storyboards from some Alfred Hitchcock thriller, such as Vertigo.
Love Town’s classic noir blended with a bit of fantastical modernism will charm and tantalize any fan of classic noir stories featured on the silver screens of yesteryear. The art style is reminiscent of Frank Miller’s gritty and violent Sin City, yet softened with the manga-like textures and shadows. Coupled with an identifiable locale and intriguing characters, Love Town is poised to be the next hit for the Yuan brothers and should not be missed when it releases.
Creative Team: John Yuan and Matt Yuan (writers), John Yuan (artist), Matt Yuan (shading), Ken F. Levin (editor)
Publisher: 1First Comics
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