Kelly Green: The Complete Collection by Stan Drake and Leonard Starr (graphic novel review).

November 9, 2020 | By | Reply More

Oddly, I picked a copy of ‘Kelly Green: The Complete Collection’ by Stan Drake and Leonard Starr cheap through Bud Plant’s sell-offs back in the spring. I recognised Stan Drake as an artist from his Marvel/DC work and Leonard Starr’s name from the variety of newspaper strips he wrote. Steven Ray Austin accounts for his work as a background inker with Drake drawing and inking the figures.

From the introduction here, ‘Kelly Green’ was devised for the European market and, contractually, they couldn’t do a one-shot but at least three stories. In the end, they did five, the fifth having its first reprint in this book, having a translation from the French.

After her policeman husband is killed in a raid, Kelly Green becomes a go-between, hired to deliver ransoms to rescue kidnap victims and property. She also has the backing of some ex-cons her husband helped and a bit of training in some concealed weaponry to get out of a jam by another police detective. Hence starts the opening story, ‘The Go-Between’, which turns into a brilliant opening story that would work well on television as police corruption is explored and a bit of detective work along the way. Totally enthralling.

I’m not sure if I should give details of the plots of these stories but I can discuss plot element techniques in establishing the situation before Kelly Green is brought in and she helps to unravel what is going on and there is an extra twist at the end, reminding you things aren’t always what they seem and even then add an extra twist.

The change in localities and characters and how situations are dealt with is done in a logical manner, more so when Kelly Green mixes with organised crime. Don’t expect happy endings. Remember, she’s a go-between paying off ransoms and often solving the crime along the way. Saying that, Kelly might have a reputation for getting things done, about the only flaw is if both sides agree to use her then surely the felons must know that about her.

Going back to the fifth story, ‘The Comic Con Heist’, it does seem an odd subject set in San Diego for the European market, although you will have fun spotting comicbook creators and in the back of the book, a proper guide to those you missed. What is important is pointing out that when it was released in the early 1980s, there was emphasis on how valuable original comicbook and comicstrip pages were back then.

You can add treble more zeroes to the prices shown then but a valuable statement. Publisher Charles Pelto explains the difficulty of finding the original pages to bring it all together making this a useful tome.

The only reason the ‘Kelly Green’ stories ended was because sales were not as great as they should have been. That’s a shame because these are really strong stories and could have translated well into a television show. The art is as good as the scripts and if you like a bit of crime thriller for a change, then it’s worth investigating.

GF Willmetts

November 2020

(pub: Classic Comics Press, 2016. 269 page graphic novel hardback. Price: I pulled my copy for, hmmm, I think £22.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-9904120-2-1).

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Category: Comics, Cri-Fi

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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