This book has had a long and winding road to production and the story of it’s creation is perhaps even more interesting than the book itself. This is actually the third printing of the book. It was created painstakingly by hand at a break-neck pace and the raw style of the art suits the story perfectly. In 1989 the book was an Eisner nominee. It was released again in 2006 in a compact version. This new release is in a traditional trade graphic novel size and includes several pages at the back of the book explaining in detail the process of the books creation.
The story is spare in dialog, as any good Noir story is. Although the book doesn’t have any glaring tributes to the author Franz Kafka, one could argue that there are sprinklings of his theories and writings throughout. The name in this case comes from a word used in concentration camps to describe when someone had disappeared.
As the unraveling of the mystery is the purpose of the book, it wouldn’t serve future readers to roll out a detailed plot line. It is enough to understand that the story is about a man living under a false identity who would do anything to be reunited with his wife.
I love the use of color in frames that are particularly poignant to the central character. I also had a good laugh when the wife was relocated to Rockford, Il. Having grown up in Chicago and having friends from there we always considered it one of the worst places in the world.
This is a beautifully illustrated, well told noir thriller with a strong and effective emotional undertone.