Behind every great suspense thriller lurks the shadow of M. In Fritz Lang's first sound film from 1931, Peter Lorre delivers a haunting performance as a serial killer--a whistling pedophile hunted by the police and brought to trial by the forces of the Berlin underworld.
In 1990, a young painter, Jon J Muth, continued his rise in the comic book industry by adapting the story of M into a four-issue comic book miniseries. Muth's photorealistic illustrations paved the way for the acceptance of painted comics, influencing a generation of artists who followed him.
Long out of print, these four issues are collected together for the first time as a hardcover graphic novel.
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Jon J Muth’s watercolor art has been called quietly life-changing” by the New York Times. He is the author and artist of The Three Questions and the bestselling picture book Zen Shorts, as well as A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy, which was a national bestseller. Other works include the graphic novel Moonshadow, and the recently published A Family Christmas. He lives in New York.
Starred Review. Long before Criterion DVDs or the Independent Film Channel—which is to say, in 1990—painter Muth adapted Fritz Lang's classic serial killer tale M into a four-part comics miniseries. He hewed closely to Lang's original German script, employing a painterly, photorealistic style that evoked the grainy, tinted footage of early talkies. The result, more influential than popular in an era of rampant speculation and chromium covers, was undeniably gorgeous. Eighteen years later, after popular artists like Alex Ross have cited Muth as a major influence, Abrams has re-released M as a hardcover graphic novel, and the deluxe treatment only adds luster to the project. Lang's story—an unidentified serial killer stalks children in a small German city—is simple but compelling, allowing Muth's masterful technique to shine through. The watercolors are primarily sepia-toned, with occasional splashes of color for emphasis, giving the project a surreal, dreamlike quality that serves to heighten suspense. Muth's layouts are excellent, creating mise-en-scènes that evoke Lang without copying him, and his figures' acting (body language and facial expressions) also serves both story and mood. An informative afterword lets readers hear from Muth about technique and why he would even try to remake Lang: to see what he could learn. Readers will find it an impressive lesson. (Apr.)
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