The first volume of David Cranna’s Glasscity is a book I’ve had for a while since I backed it on Kickstarter so it was well overdue a look.
It opens with a look at the idyllic life of Akihito Hamamoto on a peaceful Japanese island but he longs for a glimpse of the wider world and a trip to Osaka sees him get his first glimpse of Scottish culture of all things. His new obsession is triggered from this moment and he is soon on his way to soak up the Scottish culture in the fine City of Glassburgh. That dream becomes a nightmare as he’s soon mugged and left for dead in the back alley of a city that’s a world away from the image in his head but this is the REAL City and the arrival of Detective Gabriel (Gabe) Gatti shows us the power of that contrast between the two worlds.
It’s here that we get to see the grim but very real focus of the book as the harsh city and the serious crimes it hides in it’s shadows keeps Gabe busier than he’d like to be when all he really wants to do is drown his sorrows. Those sorrows come floating to the surface when a new kidnap case with a stark similarity to what happened to his own daughter just five years ago comes his way. The seedy underbelly of Glassburgh begins to rear it’s ugly head from this point on and Gabe & his partner, Jacob Munro, are soon drawn into this new case and the all the unsettling hurt it brings sees them push the boundaries of what’s allowable within the law they’ve sworn to protect.
David has kicked off a gritty Detective story for sure and while I wasn’t convinced with the opening at first, it’s actually a key part in showing us just how far Glassburgh has fallen into the depths of crime. The central story itself is then strong enough to drag you down into those same depths and it’s steady pacing is able to have a far more significant impact thanks to the longer length of this first volume. Roman Gubskii’s art is suitably dark to capture the hurt & heartache for the victims we see but more significantly for the weight that sits firmly on Gabe’s shoulders as he fights the memories that haunt and the criminals that attack. There’s a lot of dialogue & narration throughout which is all crucial in getting a feel for the characters and what’s unfolding in the story, but it’s kept under control by letterer Ryan Bielak as he guides things so that it flows rather than getting too bogged down in the weight of the reading.
With writer, artist & letterer are all combining well this feel like the beginning of something that could go beyond this first case for Detective Gatti or even branch out further into tales from the same world & while this opener is grim in it’s look, it’s still creative and hopeful in it’s own dark & twisted way. Gritty, extreme but ultimately an engaging read that leaves you wanting to see what happens next.
You can get hold of Glasscity through David’s online store, Buy Small Press or Comichaus.
You can also keep up to date with the creators through the links below too:
Ryan: Art Station