Indie Comic Review: A Fine and Private Place #1

The first issue of a Fine and Private Place left me with an unusual feeling – satisfaction. By the end of the issue I felt like I had more or less everything I needed or wanted from not only the issue, but from the entire story. In other words, I’m really not sure that I need a second issue.

A Fine & Private Place tells the story of Jonathan Rebeck, an ex-pharmacist who has been living in a cemetery in the Bronx for the past 19 years. Cared for by a talking raven, Mr. Rebeck also has the strange ability to talk to ghosts. The first issue of A FINE & PRIVATE PLACE launches into Mr. Rebeck’s peculiar world and introduces readers to the unique characters of the story, including the talking raven, two unusual spirits, and an all-too-living widow named Mrs. Klapper.

Peter Gillis’ script delivers a broad range of emotions in just 24 pages. More importantly, he delivers a wide range of believable emotions, allowing the reader to see what it might actually be like if they were to suddenly wake up and realize they were dead. For such a morbid topic, the script is surprisingly light, with moments of pure comedy. But, as I said above, al of it fits, makes sense, and is appropriate in the course of the story.

The art by Eduardo Francisco is equally as enjoyable. There is not much action per se in this book, so the emphasis is on body language and facial expressions. Francisco nails these with note-perfect nuance. Not once did the characters seem out of synch with what was supposed to be happening on the page. It kept me rooted in the moment and allowed me to enjoy the book, regardless of the supernatural setup.

By the time I came to the last page, I felt like the story was done. Not complete, mind you. Done. I didn’t need any more. I don’t want to know why Jonathan Rebeck has been living in the cemetery for 19 years. It is enough that he does. I don’t need to know how the ghost of Michael Morgan will cross over to the other side. It is enough that he realizes that he is dead and wants to hold on to what is left of his humanity for as long as he can. I really don’t even want to know if Rebeck and Mrs. Klapper ever meet again. It is enough that they met, had their conversation, and parted.

If the story never goes beyond its 24 pages, then it will be one of the finest 24 pages I have read in quite some time. The story has a Chris Ware quality about it where the story never really begins, and never really ends. We get but a mere glimpse of a moment in time and then it passes. And that is enough.

But I fear that will not be the case for A Fine and Private Place. In thirty days the second issue will come along and, inevitably, it will attempt to explain all of this. Some stories need explanation. A Fine and Quiet Place does not.

Pick up your copy of A Fine and Quiet Place #1 today.

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