Written by Christa Faust, Gary Phillips | Art by Andrea Camerini | Published by Titan Comics
The first two issues of this title really took me by surprise as I was kind of expecting not to like it. T&A has always sold to a certain demographic, and I thought this was a case of making an easy buck or two. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, the book has very adult themes, nudity and sex, but it is a realistic sex industry we see here. Seedy, dangerous, but made up in part by ordinary people like you and I. Christa Faust, co-writer with Gary Phillips, was around in that 80′s New York sex industry, so you know it’s as authentic as it comes.
The main plot of Peepland revolves around sex worker Roxy, who has come into possession of a video tape that shows a murder caught in the background of a porn shoot. She takes it to ex-boyfriend Nick Zero, and while they decide what to do the net is closing around them as bad people try to find it. The tape is taken to a friend, Snyder, to fix some damage but he decided he wants to cut himself in and directly contacts/ tries to blackmail the person he recognizes in the tape. That man is very wealthy, and very dangerous, businessman Simon Went (a very thinly disguised 80′s Donald Trump). Meanwhile, unknown to Roxy, her friend Aiesha is also being pressured as the police are claiming her son committed the murder caught on tape and are trying to frame him for it.
As expected, Snyder’s amateur attempt at blackmail results in a visit from some heavies who proceed to put the boot in. The police station also has a visit from a Sherry Lindstrom, the girl doing the porn shoot for Dirty Dick in the video everyone is looking for, and she also confirms it was a white kid who murdered the girl. Detective Alvarez gets it all down on tape, but I don’t get the impression justice is in his mind. Roxy gets concerned when she can’t get hold of Snyder, as she wants that tape to clear Aiesha’s son Zee, but doesn’t know a badly beaten Snyder has given up the tape and his apartment is about to go up in flames. My low opinion of Detective Alvarez is also confirmed as he shows up at the apartment of Simon Went, looking to get a little blackmail of his own going. Why? Went Junior was the white kid who committed the murder.
Plenty of juggling of subplots went on this issue, with various central characters all getting some decent air time and their individual story arcs all progressing nicely. The interesting theme this issue was not just bad people doing bad things, you expect that, but good people doing bad things for good reasons. Is that ever justifiable? Is it ever not? Relationships was also to the fore as well, Roxy with Nick and Kat, Aiesha with son Zee, even Simon Went protecting his awful offspring. Throw into the mix the same great dialogue and use of 80′s New York locales and events, you had a great issue. Great text piece at the end too.
The artwork by Andrea Camerini and colourist Marco Lesko is the adds to the book immensely. They give the book its feel, its look. We feel the cold on those snowy New York streets, hear the music in the punk club, see the real side of peep show sex workers. Great layouts and composition round out a very strong book visually.
Very well written and drawn, using subtly altered real places, people, and events, this really captures a place and time far better than photos ever could. My expectations for next issue remain very high, let’s hope the great work continues.
Peepland #3 is out on January 18th from Titan Comics.