Goodnight Paradise #1
Writer: Joshua Dysart
Artist: Alberto Ponticelli
Color Artist: Giulia Brusco
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Sebastian Girner
Publisher: TKO Studios
Review by Christoph Staffl
The new comicbook publisher TKO Studios starts its line-up with, among others, Goodnight Paradise. The story focuses on Eddie, a homeless man living in Venice, California. He has some friends, like his drinking buddies, and sometimes finds his way around town but barely leaves this particular part of the beach. Things radically change after he discovers the body of a young girl and a dog in the dumpster. Who is behind the murder and how can this girl be connected to some dubious guys? The police seem barely interested in uncovering the truth, so it is up to Eddie to find out what happened.
Goodnight Paradise is an interesting take on the murder mystery genre in more than one way. Let’s talk about three reasons why you should check out this new series by TKO Studios.
First, we have the setting. The creative team presents its readers with a world focused entirely on the homeless community, something you do not see very often represented in comics. You might know your local homeless people, walking past them throughout your day. But what are their problems? What does their day to day life look like? This series offers an intimate view into a world that might exist within ours but works with entirely different rules. The focus never shifts from this and always presents Eddie’s perspective. He is dragging you along with him, forcing you, the reader, to deal with his world and everything it entails.
But it is not just the setting itself that makes reading the story uncomfortable; it is also the realistic portrayal of it. The, by all means, painful lives of homeless people, and everything they have to go through is not told via a fantasy, sci-fi, or historical fiction lens. No, you will find no sugar-coating here. However, to paint a wholesome picture (pun intended), you need more than a convincing setting, which brings us to numero dos.
The second reason why you should check out this series is the dialogue. I have not done a thorough analysis, but it seems like there is an overall language, a dialect, of how the characters in the story talk to each other — a natural development of their lives.
The way they talk and behave is also an indication that the characters have known each other for a long time. They have a history together, seen friends come and go, made contacts at the police, the library, and who knows where else. These deep, meaningful relationships add to the world-building and make it feel even more like a slice-of-life story.
Last but not least, we have to talk about the artwork. Everything I mentioned above would fall apart if it were not for the striking artwork connecting all those elements. It is very detailed and shows you everything you need to see and more. The coloring fits the setting as it looks dirty, in desperate need to be cleaned. It completes the picture of a story taking place entirely in a homeless environment and presented from that perspective.
The Verdict: Read it!
This series has the potential to bring something unique to the table. Sometimes I had to force myself to go to the next page because it was so different and strange from everything else I have read. Which, in this case, is a good thing. And even though it makes you uncomfortable, you will also root for the protagonist. He has to find the murderer and bring some justice to his unjust world.
You can find the publisher here and buy the entirety of the series (for binge-reading) in various formats on the website. TKO Studios tries to bring something new to the world of comics. If all of their projects are as passionate and high-quality as this one, I can’t wait to get my hands on their other properties.