Paul Grist’s ‘Kane’ Is Coming Back: Rejoice For The Return Of The Greatest Crime Comic
by Richard Bruton
Paul Grist’s Kane was one of the greatest crime comics there’s ever been. No question. No arguments. It simply was. And now, as a perfect Christmas gift to its many fans, Grist has teased that Kane is to return!
On his social medias, Grist has posted that teaser image, just Detective Kane and that ominous line, “This Is Where It Ends,” along with pencil and final art.
So, this could be not just the latest Kane but the final Kane. But that’s almost immaterial to us fans, the important thing is that we’re getting more Kane.
First published by Grist’s own Dancing Elephant Press and later Image Comics in 31 single issues and six collections from 1993 to 2001, Kane was just near perfection as a crime comic. Remember, when initially published, this was around the time of Frank Miller‘s Sin City, with critics and fans calling that the best crime comic ever. But I’ve always put Grist’s Kane way above Miller’s one-dimensional Sin CIty. Sure, both share that Noir setting, the stark black and white artwork, the multi-layered storylines. But this ignores the real genius of Grist’s Kane; it’s simply richer than Sin City. The storytelling is better, the style is better, the artistic experimentation is better, and there’s none of Miller’s unrelenting grimness of Sin City – Grist’s Kane has fun and humour in amongst the darkness of the plot.
And that raises it to another level – it is simply the greatest crime comic I’ve ever read.
Kane himself is a flawed police detective, hated within his department for his role in shooting and killing his (corrupt) ex-partner. In the first volume, as Kane returns to duty following a six month suspension, his fellow cops show their appreciation in a welcome back gift: a couple of bullets with his name engraved on them. It’s testament to Grist’s abilities as a writer that his initial story hook; Kane the outsider, a pariah in his own precinct for the killing of his partner is still unresolved, still referenced and yet still grabs the reader’s interest.
Throughout the next 5 volumes we meet the extensive supporting cast; Kane’s new partner Kate Felix, his fellow cops, the comic relief that is the Mayor and Mr Flopssie Whopssie (Rabbit for Hire) and Oscar Darke; New Eden’s crime lord with a hand in almost everything that goes on in New Eden. Each character is fully realised and fleshed out throughout the series and the book is perfectly capable of sustaining several episodes where Kane himself is nowhere to be seen.
Grist’s artwork is a perfect blend of cartooning and experimentation. His use of the page and the white space is masterful. He seems to perfectly understand how to utilise the page and layout to dazzle the reader whilst never losing control of the story. And he’s constantly playing with the way he tells a story.
And now it’s coming back – Merry Christmas Kane fans – we couldn’t have asked for better news!
And just in case you haven’t had the pleasure before, a few pages from the very first Kane…