M

M

by Jon J. Muth
     
 

Behind every great suspense thriller lurks the shadow of M. In Fritz Lang's first sound film from 1931, Peter Lorre delivers a haunting performance as a serial killer—a whistling pedophile hunted by the police and brought to trial by the forces of the Berlin underworld.

In 1990, a young painter, Jon J Muth, continued his rise in the comic book

Overview

Behind every great suspense thriller lurks the shadow of M. In Fritz Lang's first sound film from 1931, Peter Lorre delivers a haunting performance as a serial killer—a whistling pedophile hunted by the police and brought to trial by the forces of the Berlin underworld.

In 1990, a young painter, Jon J Muth, continued his rise in the comic book industry by adapting the story of M into a four-issue comic book miniseries. Muth's photorealistic illustrations paved the way for the acceptance of painted comics, influencing a generation of artists who followed him.

Long out of print, these four issues are collected together for the first time as a hardcover graphic novel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Long before Criterion DVDs or the Independent Film Channel-which is to say, in 1990-painter Muth adapted Fritz Lang's classic serial killer tale M into a four-part comics miniseries. He hewed closely to Lang's original German script, employing a painterly, photorealistic style that evoked the grainy, tinted footage of early talkies. The result, more influential than popular in an era of rampant speculation and chromium covers, was undeniably gorgeous. Eighteen years later, after popular artists like Alex Ross have cited Muth as a major influence, Abrams has re-released M as a hardcover graphic novel, and the deluxe treatment only adds luster to the project. Lang's story-an unidentified serial killer stalks children in a small German city-is simple but compelling, allowing Muth's masterful technique to shine through. The watercolors are primarily sepia-toned, with occasional splashes of color for emphasis, giving the project a surreal, dreamlike quality that serves to heighten suspense. Muth's layouts are excellent, creating mise-en-scènes that evoke Lang without copying him, and his figures' "acting" (body language and facial expressions) also serves both story and mood. An informative afterword lets readers hear from Muth about technique and why he would even try to remake Lang: to see what he could learn. Readers will find it an impressive lesson. (Apr.)

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Library Journal

With Peter Lorre as a whistling pedophile serial killing his way through German children, Lang's classic film tops the horror-thriller hit parade. Tension mounts as the police and the criminal underground compete to catch the killer; the ending poses questions of personal responsibility for crime and calls for constant vigilance against such threats to the social order. Muth's photo-impressionistic technique relied on posed models to create dusky, mostly gray-sepia images, imposing a dreamlike blurring of the action that is designed to heighten suspense graphically, in place of what sound and motion contribute to a film. Indeed, Muth's finely worked paintings shimmer hauntingly through Lang's plot. But there's a static, frozen quality to many of them, and their visual muddiness makes the story difficult to follow if you're not familiar with the film. Much worse is the dialog, adapted from the screenplay. As spoken in the film by actors conveying individual voices and emotions, it works well; but in comics, it lies flat and wooden, with little characterization inside badly designed speech balloons. Muth's M was originally published as a four-issue comic book miniseries in 2000. For adult collections, with cataloging tied in with film studies and artistic techniques.
—Martha Cornog

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810995222
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
10.48(w) x 6.98(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Jon J Muth’s watercolor art has been called “quietly life-changing” by the New York Times. He is the author and artist of The Three Questions and the bestselling picture book Zen Shorts, as well as A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy, which was a national bestseller. Other works include the graphic novel Moonshadow, and the recently published A Family Christmas. He lives in New York.

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