Luna Park #1

    Luna Park » Luna Park #1 - OGN released by Vertigo on November 2009.

    silkcuts's Luna Park #1 - OGN review

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    The Dreamland of Kevin Baker

    Luna Park was a wonderful read.  There are some aspects that I am sure an American will appreciate over the rest of the world because there is some things rooted into this book that is part of American history.  Such as the real location of Luna Park was in Coney Island New York and it seems to be a "dreamland" writer Kevin Baker seems to like to revisit.  Kevin Baker is the author of the novel "Deamland" and Luna Park is his debut in comics and I have to say I am impressed.

      Luna Park was an amusement park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City from 1903 to 1944.
      Luna Park was an amusement park at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City from 1903 to 1944.
    Luna Park to my understanding burned down in 1944 and because of one more fire in 1946 the location where Luna Park was was used for something else.  Upon my research a site said Luna Park was rebuilt in 2010, but I have not been back to Coney Island within that time to confirm. I also have to point out that this book starts off in 2009, which is important to the book.
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    This book would jump between many time periods, because it is about a blood stained waltz of a set of star-crossed lovers.  These two lovers would find themselves repeating history no matter how they tried to change things.  They will always remain guilty for their sins throughout history.  The Tarot deck becomes important to this book because the Tarot may just be the first real Graphic novel.  The Tarot does have multiple stories and it can be read in many ways, but the base archetypes remain true in each Tarot card and rookie graphic novel writer Kevin Baker makes good use of working the Tarot in this story.  Although using the Tarot is not brand new to comics, it is still a plot device that can make or break a comic.
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    The Noirish look of this book is the perfect choice to set the mood.  Artist Danijel Zezelj (Hellblazer, Northlanders) is a Vertigo alumni when it comes to the dark magic of books that tip-toe into the occult.  Zezelj is a fairly unique artist, I can't think of any artist that has his style.  It is a type of painting I have yet to find the definition I am happy with.  I do know that the noir look in his books is a form of chiaroscuro, which basically means a contrast of light and colors.  Zezelj's art has a certain "pop" in each panels because of the limited colors and lighting he uses.  
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    The colors as well play a big difference.  There are times when the story plays in the darker tones and I saw that as the modern dark life of 2009 Alik Strelnikov.  The happier times tend to have brighter colors like childhood memories of the magical Luna Park.  The Russian army times used an almost  dry mud tone of brown which was nice.  The colors play with the mood and emotion I think we are suppose to have for this story.
    Above I mentioned that there are somethings that have more impact for American readers.  This is because the ending only makes sense in you know American history and JFK.  This books is very much in the column of Vertigo I love.  There are two types of Vertigo comics in my opinion: (1) The ones that have the shock value and are accessible and (2) the ones that are works of art that you need to do your research to get all the levels.  This book is in column 2.  To best understand this book, knowledge on things like the Tarot, JFK and even Constantine help to improve this story.  I point out Constantine because Constantinople is mentioned in this book about "constant" archetypes repeating itself.  John Constantine is called "The Constant One" because throughout time there has always been some sort of Constantine effecting the world.  Constantinople was named after Saint Constantine and that last tidbit is real fact.  That choice of location is perfect for the patterns in history Kevin Baker is trying to express.
    This is a wonderful read even if the layers are missed.  It has the charm of the movie The Fountain and the art style of the magic that this book wants to bestow upon us. I would recommend Luna Park alone as a great way to learn the Tarot, Kevin Baker does a pretty good job breaking down some key cards. This is a great read.
    - Silkcuts

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