Dying is Easy #3 is available now where all good comics are sold!
Syd Homes, having just Indiana Jones’d his way out of certain death, finds himself once again up the creek without a paddle. The Ross Brothers, suspects number one and two respectively in the death of joke stealer and general thief Carl Dixon, have just found themselves an alibi—which means Syd’s back on the Most Wanted list. Good thing he’s totally cool under pressure, because getting out of this jam may or may not involve posing as a stuntman… Well, as they say—life is short, comedy is hard, and dying is really f*cking easy!
Dying is Easy is written by Joe Hill, drawn by Martin Simmonds, coloured by Dee Cuniffe and lettered by Shawn Lee.
Firstly, I have to state that I love Joe Hill’s comic book work. Locke and Key is nothing short of genius and is one of my favourite comic runs of all time. That being said, Dying is Easy is not your typical Joe Hill style of book. Dying is Easy follows Syd Homes, a disgraced former detective turned stand-up comedian, who is on the run from the police for the murder of a joke stealing comedian – a crime he didn’t commit. The Joe Hill hallmarks are there; a compelling story and interesting and layered characters, but this book is at its heart a comedy, underlined with a murder mystery plot – a contrast to Hill’s usual horror work.
The book is genuinely funny, from the first panel to the last. There is a running joke throughout the issue with the women all seeming to have an affection for Alan Rickman, a joke laid out in the first page by once character and paid off later by another. The laughs from the dialogue come thick and fast throughout the issue, a testament to Hill’s versatility as a writer. In this issue, Hill mixes the comedy with the plot to successfully move the story forward, something that the second issue lacked and suffered from.
There is a visual gag which begun in issue two and is continued here, where Syd continuously finds himself in ridiculous footwear. The first action sequence is of Syd hanging on to a speeding car wearing bright blue roller skates, which he uses to skate along the side of an oncoming speeding lorry. The chase ends and Syd is confronted by a gun wielding police man, who he speeds past and knocks over, skating away from the carnage. The visual is both ludicrous and hilarious, and Symmond’s rough, sketchy art style combined with Cunniffe’s surreal and bold colours work heighten the absurdity.
While the art and colours work well to highlight the tone of the book, the style can make it quite hard to follow visually. Once or twice I found myself lost in a sequence, and often characters can look completely different from one panel to the next. This isn’t a major fault of the art, and it could even have been done on purpose to mirror the chaos of the plot, but I found it jarring at times. That being said, there is an excellent sequence with each wide panel depicting the different levels of a building. The visual storytelling in this scene and the next are outstanding, and are a testament to the unique storytelling style that the comic book medium is capable of. And oh my, what a dazzling last page!
This issue is a significant improvement on the previous, the plot is progressing and I’m fully on-board for the outrageous comedic ride! The questionable art choices do not take away from some really striking visuals and storytelling.