Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Finder Library (Volume 1) by Carla Speed McNeil

Collecting the first 22 issues of the comic Finder (plus extra material), The Finder Library allows complete immersion into about 650 pages of the imaginative world-building, complex relationships and compelling characters created by Carla Speed McNeil. The detailed black and white art is especially absorbing in its depiction of exterior and interior settings. McNeil's sharp social commentary is softened by her sense of humour.

Set far in the future on Earth, the stories center on Jaeger Ayers, who is part Aboriginal. His dual roles as both a sin-eater and a finder set him apart from everyone else. Jaeger's sometime lover is Emma, who has left her abusive husband, Brigham. Emma and Brigham are from different clans and their mixed marriage was frowned upon from the start. Jaeger and Brigham have a long history together that began in the army. Emma's three children - Rachel, Lynne and Marcie - are intriguing characters negotiating life within the context of their mixed heritage and insane father. The middle child was born male but raised as a daughter. Emma's father looks more feminine than her mother - another tantalizing thread in the overall cultural picture. The queer content is secondary, yet well-integrated and appealing.

Talisman was the only portion of this story that I had previously read and I was delighted to encounter it again within this collection. Volume 2 of The Finder Library beckons, but I've got a stack of other books to get through first.

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