Jonathan Case’s ‘New Deal’

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New Deal CoverFrank the bellhop loves his job at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Where else can he rub elbows with the elite? After arriving late one day, he discovers Jack Helmer has returned. Explorer and all around wealthy jerk, Jack Helmer at first appears to not remember Frank. That is, until he stops him later to inform the bellhop he hasn’t forgotten about the 400$ he is owed from an illegal poker game. Frank has only a few days to get the funds. He contemplates stealing from the other guests, but a maid named Theresa stops him. Theresa is in an all African American version of Macbeth off Broadway, and works to make ends meet by cleaning rooms in the Waldorf Astoria. Both are treated kindly by the newest guest; a breathtakingly beautiful and highly intelligent woman by the name of Nina Booth. Nina carried with her a caged animal, hidden from view, and a wonderful set of clothes. She freely gives away money and seems to be the only wealthy resident of the hotel to even take notice of the staff. When expensive items begin to go missing, the wealthy suspect Theresa. Desperate to keep her job, Theresa is thrilled when Nina comes to her rescue and personally asks for the maid to work her party. During cleanup, Theresa discovers that Nina might not be as on the straight path as she seems and her course is headed directly for Jack Helmer’s latest discovery.

Jonathan Case’s The New Deal tells of the familiar divisions of class and wealth in 1930’s New York, while also intriguing the reader with a whodunnit. Nina’s illustrations make me wish I was better skilled with needle and thread to create some of her outfits. It was wonderful to see Theresa as an African American character who is more three dimensional than most time period comics would make her out to be. She has emotions and depth and the courage to tell Orson Wells where to shove it. The artwork in the comic is black, blue and white, giving the comic and older and classy feel.

While The New Deal is not my typical comic, the flow, feel and artwork of this comic made it easy to love.

The New Deal is available now from Dark Horse Comics.

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