I first had a dose of the delicious combo of writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Marcos Martin in Doctor Strange: The Oath, a 5-issue mini-series where Dr. Strange fights Dormammu, Baron Mordo, and his sort-of-mother-in-law, Umar. Everytime these two collaborate, I’m always there to eat it all up, which is why it’s like Christmas in my brain right now. Vaughan and Martin have teamed up once again, and this time, they have gone off the grid.
The Private Eye is the duo’s first foray into DRM-free digital comics territory, offering the 10-issue series for “any price you think is fair”, which includes $0. It’s quite amusing for them to use this distribution route for a story about a future world shaped by the collapse of the Internet. They’re not the first comic book creators to do this DRM-free digital distribution thing, but as far as I know, they’re the most high profile dudes to do so. I’m thinking — and hoping — that other big name creators will follow suit.
Vaughan and Martin have built a world where privacy is of utmost importance. In stark contrast, we live our daily lives now sharing everything on the Internet, from big life events down to the mundane such as a photo of that slice of day-old pizza you had for breakfast. In the world of The Private Eye, everyone has a secret identity.
It’s not just an eye-opening commentary on this age of social media, oversharing, and information overload though. In the midst of this futuristic world of confidentiality is a detective story starring a dude who wears a pretty cool Cheshire Cat suit.
This first issue doesn’t really give us a lot about the plot of the story, which I guess is important for a detective story. It’s mostly an introduction to how things work in this future world and what Cheshire Dude does for a living, but it does pick up steam towards the end.
If a sci-fi detective story set in a post-Internet world isn’t really your bag of fun, at least you can enjoy the detailed yet clean art by Martin and colorist Muntsa Vicente. Just check out this page:
Seeing Martin and Vicente’s images alone is worth… well, any price you think is fair.
Head on over to Panel Syndicate to download The Private Eye #1. It’s 32 pages, optimized for on-screen reading. It comes in PDF, CBR, and CBZ formats and is available in English, Spanish, and Catalan.