The purpose of Fed Up With Super Heroes
is to offer a look at the finest alternatives to super hero comic books, past and present. Today's particular entry comes originally from the year 1980 (reprinted in color in 1985) and there are absolutely no capes or cowls to be found.Detectives, Inc. - A Remembrance of Threatening Green
is one of writer Don McGregor's first foray's into the very new (at the time) graphic novel format. The story revolves around two detectives, Ted Denning and Bob Rainier, who both struggle with their own very real and distinct problems while attempting to solve a murder case.
We meet up with Ted, who is having trouble coping with his first and only time actually having to use his gun to kill someone. Sure, it was in defense of his partner, Bob, and he had to do it, but that doesn't make him feel any better.
As you can see from the panels above, the book goes to great lengths to examine the emotions of the characters. What's more is it's not just a flash in the pan type of thing. We see Ted deal with these emotions right up to the very end of the book, with surprising realism.
Bob Rainier is also dealing with his own demons. The recent divorce from his wife has been more than a little hard on him. It gets worse when she jumps back into his life with the case in which the graphic novel revolves around.
Bob's ex-wife explains that a friend of hers' girlfriend was recently murdered. Now she wants to hire Bob and Ted to look into her girlfriend's death a bit more intimately. Bob reluctantly accepts. Ted's response is even less enthusiastic about doing something for the woman that practically destroyed Bob's life, but they get down to it anyway. They need the money.
When Bob and Ted visit the clinic, we get to see Bob's thoughts about the lesbian, Ruth, whom he is about to meet. This is a place where the book shines; its mature look at homosexual relationships and the biases that people, men (Bob, here) in particular, have toward them. As the book progresses, Bob is able to see past his biases to the woman that exists as a person, not a homosexual, and finds a person he can relate to.
In the end, the detectives solve the case, as you might expect, but it's the journey to that end that's really interesting. Detectives, Inc.
's story is a lot about the case of the dead girlfriend, but it's much more about the characters. You get to know them intimately through character development the likes of which is hardly seen anymore. You come to really care about what happens to them and that's what makes the book so interesting and successful for me: the characters are served by the plot and are not there to serve the plot.
We see these characters with all their differences (Ted is African American, Bob is white; Ruth is a lesbian, Bob is straight and male) and then, as the story progresses, we begin to see these characters and all their similarities: they're all human. I won't spoil things because this is a book (or set if you get the reprints) that deserves to be sought out and read. It's a gripping and emotional book that makes you think, which is what all really good books accomplish.