Photo by C. Young Photography used under a Creative Commons license.
Kevin Colden, Fishtown (IDW Publishing, 2008).
A graphic novel set in the eponymous working-class neighborhood of Philadelphia, and based on a murder there in 2003. Fishtown is about four teenagers who murder an acquaintance for a relatively meager sum of money. It’s a bleak story, well-executed. I hesitate to recommend it, but if it sounds like something you might enjoy, you probably will.
Colden’s work initially was published on the internet and can still be seen here and here; he revised it somewhat before it came out in hardcover. Christopher Irving profiles Colden. Valerie D’Orazio calls Fishtown a chilling portrayal of teenage apathy and bloodlust. Alli Katz (Philadelphia Weekly) says Fishtown becomes a character in and of itself–not the hipster-ridden, art-show Fishtown, but the Fishtown of old row homes and families that have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Bryan Kerman says the tale is ultimately as mysterious as the murder: random and sick, but not rich in the telling. Dustin was continuously interested in the story even though he found none of the characters to be likable. Joshua Grace thought it had a few cool story telling devices, but he didn’t really like it. rzklkng says we all know kids like these. Jillian Steinhauer calls it an emotionally charged, upsetting, and incredibly well executed comic. Lisa Fary says Colden handles the horror of the kids’ actions and aftermath without passing judgment or making excuses for them. Rob Clough appreciates Colden’s effort to understand the murder. John Ostapkovich (KYW 1060) says it’s not for the squeamish. Sam Costello says it’s truly disturbing, unusually so in comics. Marc Sobel says it’s a quick, discomfiting read and depressing as hell, but a beautiful book. Glenn Carter says it’s dark, powerful, poignant stuff, highly recommended on every level. Timothy Callahan says its story will haunt you long after you close the covers. Callahan interviewed Colden. So did Brian Heater (part one) (part two). Here is another interview, with Michael C. Lorah. This is one of a number of blogs posting a release by the publisher’s publicist. Jaime Valero reviews it en espanol. Here’s a resource for the real Fishtown.