Written and illustrated by the talented Carla Speed McNeil, and published by Lightspeed Press, the Finder: Sin Eater series of comics has so far spanned eight years, 38 single issues and seven collected volumes. It remains one of the most imaginative comic series for adults. The first volume is no exception. Sin Eater serves as an introduction into the city of Anvard, a place where the Fey Plague, anthropomorphic “constructs” and other creations of imagination run wild alongside a futuristic, caste-based city under a dome. Jaeger, a Finder and a Sin Eater, stumbles back into the life of a family of women from his past, as well as a city he would rather not become a part of. The story delves into a past of psychological abuse. Throughout, McNeil’s art is remarkable, maintaining a realistic aspect while diving straight into her strongly constructed fictional world. There are certainly parts that are dense to a fault — and could’ve benefited from an early editorial presence. While McNeil does create an immersive world with her words and art, it seems that she may’ve needed to rethink some parts, and erased even more still. Another flaw with Sin Eater as a storyline is that it requires both the first and second volumes for complete comprehension. This first volume is not the entire introductory story; it will leave you hanging. McNeil recently announced that she would be deserting the long-standing practice in the comic industry of printing singles — thin, 20-pages-long serial installations — in favor of making each new issue of Finder available on the official Finder/Lightspeed Press Web site: www.lightspeedpress.com. A page of the current issue is made available on the Web site daily until completion, after which it’s taken off the site and McNeil starts to upload the next issue a page a day. The real reason behind singles for most comic publishing companies isn’t profits from initial sales, but to promote consumer awareness about the title in order to ensure that sales aren’t a disaster. By bypassing the printing costs/low sales loss maelstrom that singles usually represent for a smaller imprint while gaining publicity for the upcoming trade paperback through free Web publication, McNeil is able to eat her cake — while keeping it on the highest pedestal.

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