Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #58 by Drew Barth

Let’s Not Forget Old City Blues

Fantastic new graphic novels and comics come out every week—so much coming out that some things end up not being as revered as they should have been. There are graphic novels and comic series still sitting on my shelf that I come back to every few months to remember how good they still are after all these years. One such graphic novel is the first volume of Old City Blues by Giannis Milonogiannis, released in 2011.

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From the outset, Old City Blues wears its influences on its sleeve—Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell most notably. Beginning in the sprawling metropolis of New Athens in 2048, cyborgs are being murdered at random. Solano, a special police division detective, heads up the investigation. Milonogiannis spirals the story into the corporate intrigue, piloted mecha, and the general dystopia of the world he has created. And as familiar as some of these themessound, his direct storytelling and wonderfully kinetic pen and ink art renders Neo Athens bas more than the sum of its influences.

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The example images included in this article are only from the first volume released in 2011 in a larger format hardback. The second volume, released in 2013, was released in a paperback volume closer to the size of a traditional manga. The third volume is still ongoing, but not in print—Milonogiannis has instead moved everything online. From the Old City Blues website, the entire series can be read: volumes one, two, and the still in-progress three.

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As Old City Blues closes in on a decade since its initial release, it is still one of the most relevant comics coming out. From its environmentally dystopian setting to its musings on robotics and personhood to the ways in which the series has adapted to different release formats, Milonogiannis has created a series that will last well into the rest of the century. If there is a series worth remembering, it’s Old City Blues.

Get excited. The future is coming.


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Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.