As we hit the third Wednesday of the month without new comics, there’s an intense hunger among readers for something new to fill the void. Today, Panel Syndicate feeds the starving masses with the surprise launch of Friday, a new “post-YA” series by writer Ed Brubaker, artist/letterer Marcos Martín, and colorist Muntsa Vicente. This is a huge debut by two of the industry’s top talents—Brubaker has seven Eisner Awards, Martín has two—and it arrives at a time that underlines the value of unconventional distribution models like Panel Syndicate, an online platform that allows readers to pay-what-they-want for DRM-free digital comics.
Inspired by YA novels of the ’60s and ’70s like Harriet The Spy and the Encyclopedia Brown series, Friday explores what happens when teenage investigators start entering adulthood and leave behind their old lifestyle. Friday Fitzhugh has been away at college, and when she returns to her hometown of Kings Hill, it takes almost no time for her to get sucked into a new mystery with her old best friend, Lancelot Jones. This exclusive first look at Friday #1, on sale now at Panel Syndicate, showcases how well this creative team creates a sense of foreboding as it immerses readers in the setting. The narration connects the comic to its prose influences, and the artwork immediately establishes a rift between Friday and Lancelot through their reactions to being back on the case.
Each of Martín and Vicente’s Panel Syndicate series (previous titles are The Private Eye and Barrier with writer Brian K. Vaughan) exists in a very different genre landscape, which significantly changes each book’s aesthetic. Friday is a small-town gothic horror mystery, and these pages ground the story in reality with subdued panel compositions and a limited color palette. Deep shadows and the severe contrast of pale blue and bright yellow create tension on the page, and Friday is constantly kept out of the light, a subtle visual touch that reinforces her distance from the investigation. But as is usually the case in these situations, Friday won’t be able to stay away for long.