A crime-thriller set among the Jazz soaked java-joints of Greenwich Village in the late 1950’s and follows Jim Rhodes, a blue-collar mechanic from Pittsburgh, as he tries to build a new life for himself as a Beat generation writer.
But his dreams are quickly threatened when he discovers that the Village is not the artistic haven he believed it to be; instead it is the focal point for a culture clash as the Mob, Beatniks and a paranoid police force fight for control as Jim must learn to shape his own future, or others will shape it for him.
Writer John Ward, along with co-creator Tom Sacchi, teams up with Giles Crawford to make Lowlives. It’s fast paced and enjoyable, even if the artwork leaves a little to be desired at times. Set in a the 1950’s in a rough neighbourhood, the comic is quick to establish that things won’t go well for our lead. Stabbed, beaten up and half drowned by page 7, it seems this is a world where good deeds don’t really pay off.
In doing some researching, I found out this comic is influenced by Belgian comics. Some of that comes through, and Crawford’s art here feels like it owes a little debt to the work of Jim Jinkins too. It’s a little scrappy overall, but the pages, that use shadow and cool tones to let the characters themselves stand out, works well showing that it’s really the people who make the neighbourhood as vibrant as it is. It does feel a little slapdash at times, but I recognise that’s perhaps part of the style rather than an oversight and it’s all down to preferences.
It’s clear that all our characters are haunted by their past in some way, even Jim, the newcomer to the area, being haunted by a shadowy past. Also, the characters are perhaps going to be at one another throats given the time and setting, as two of the protagonists are a black couple and are very distrustful of leaving a white man alone in their house.
All in all it’s an interesting comic and one I would be interested to see continuing. It’s completely self published at the moment, so if you are interested, order a copy and check out the Facebook page at the end of this review.
For more info on the comic, follow Lowlives on their Facebook page.