Hawaiian Dick reminds me of those great 1950s crime dramas, full of speeding cars, jumpin’ jazz scores, and tough P.I.’s looking for balancing shaky moral ground. It’s full of great reaction shots, car chases, snappy dialogue, and a few zombies. Wondering about the zombies, are ya? Not too many scenes of Bogie staring down the walking dead, but I’m all for it. This first volume follows the wavering career of Byrd (gotta dig the single name), a cop exiled from the mainland and cooling his heels on Hawaii trying to make a buck. He and his old army buddy, Detective Mo Kalama, get roped into a dubious case trying to retrieve a car for a less than trustworthy fellow who soon meets his own mysterious end. The local drug king, one Bishop Masaki, has lost something he treasures, and he implores Byrd and Kalama to track it down. Never mind that Masaki’s treasure is a woman, and that woman was dead last time Byrd and Kalama saw her. Or was she? Toss in island prejudices, voodoo, haunting pasts, and one sassy, sexy bartender and shake well, and you get one heck of a refreshing drink. The artwork perfectly matches the style of the story, with strong lines and stronger lighting melding with a cool palette of contrasting colors to add energy to all of the scenes. Most fitting, this title also features a full menu of mixed drinks at the end, courtesy of San Francisco’s Isotope, the comic book lounge. Older teens and adults will appreciate the slow wit and burn of this story.

Hawaiian Dick: Byrd of Paradise
ISBN: 9781582403175
by B. Clay Moore
Art by Steven Griffin
Image Comics, 2003

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

    View all posts
Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!