The first crime movie I fell completely head-over-heals in love with was the Tom Hanks classic, Road To Perdition. When I saw this movie I was very young, not terribly into comics, and had never seen a proper crime film. Once I started reading comics seriously, I discovered that a graphic novel written by Max Allan Collins, a deity in the crime fiction world, inspired the Academy Award-winning film. This blew my mind. I
got my mom to drive me drove as fast as she I could to the comic shop to pick up the novel. I read through this thing quicker than Kim Kardashian’s marriage, and then re-read it. To this day, it’s not only one of my favorite crime stories, but one of my top graphic novels. Okay, enough about my personal life…the just of my story is that the original Road to Perdition is an intelligent, gripping, and dark, depression-era noir story that is a feat in graphic storytelling. The long awaited new chapter in the Perdition series, Return to Perdition, finally hits stores this week (along with a re-releases of the original). Read on for the skinny…
“A new chapter in the acclaimed graphic novel series that inspired the Academy Award-winning movie! The setting is America in the early 1970s, and our third generation hero, Michael Satariano, Jr. is a Vietnam vet recently returned to the States. He doesn’t know that his father’s real name was Michael O’Sullivan, and is unaware of the conflict between his dad, his grandfather and John Looney – the criminal godfather of Rock Island, Illinois. But when he’s recruited by the mob as a hitman, he’s going to learn the hard way that you can never outrun (or outgun) your past.”
Max Allan Collins is one of the leading currently active authors in the crime fiction game. He’s not anything like that piece of garbage James Patterson who wipes his ass and calls it a novel. This is real hardboiled stuff, not for the weak of heart. Collins has worked on everything from short stories to screenplays, and he’s got a certain knack for telling touching tough stories about gangster life, family ties, and the inevitable failures of the American dream. Collins’ work is not as violent of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, it more so falls in line with forefathers like Mickey Spillane and Raymond Chandler. Collins is a true master of the hardboiled anti-hero character, he wrote Dick Tracey for god’s sake!
Although most noir stories take place in the 40s or 50s, Return to Perdition updates to the 1970s, much like Robert Altman’s classic Marlowe film, The Long Goodbye (which if you haven’t seen, shame on you!). When an author is able to re-imagine a classic genre in a more modern era it allows us to understand things about the genre we never could before. But more pertinently, it allows us to examine this new era with a completely different perspective.
Terry Beatty and Collins are longtime collaborators so there should be no complications with the artwork. Beatty’s classic comic book style compliments Collins’ gritty and pulpy writing perfectly. The starkness of the black and white art fits retro crime graphic novels better than they do any other genre.
Return to Perdition should provide another enthralling and brilliant chapter to Collins’ already acclaimed series. While for some older (read wiser) readers it may induce a sense of nostalgia for the 70s, reading Return to Perdition for me will evoke memories of an impressionable time in my life when my interests and opinions were in their most formative years. The Perdition series may be of a more personal nature to me (thanks for bearing with me), but I assure you, it’s not a book you can afford to skip.
‘Return to Perdition’ Is Available Now from Vertigo