Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Color Assist: Dee Cunniffe
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Editor: Chris Ryall
Publisher: IDW Comics
“Carl Dixon a fuckin’ joke thief, man.”
Carl Dixon. You can describe him in many different ways. Handsome, funny, successful, but others may call him a thief. Dixon isn’t only a thief, but he’s also a joke stealer, which is the highest offense to the comedy world. Syd Homes is an ex-cop trying to work his way up to being a comedian. His jokes are a flop, but at least he’s trying, right? Homes gets wind that someone is taking his (and others) jokes. A guy at the club asks him how much it would take to get Dixon killed. Little did Homes know that he would be back on the job … and the prime suspect.
Dying is Easy #1 is off to a fantastic start. At least, for me anyway, the first few pages start slow. You ease your way into the joke, and then you ease your way into the story. But I think that’s sincerely what makes it worth it, because when it takes off, it becomes the mystery that you never knew you wanted.
I was turned off to it at first because Syd Homes, our lead character, was dying as he was telling the jokes (I did chuckle a couple of times, though. I’d be terrible at a comedy club). However, that’s what it’s meant to do. Even with its slow set-up and terrible jokes, it’s a brilliant way to set up that world. It brings you in the headspace of the main character and the people around him. Once you step into the comedy club and watch Homes on stage, there’s no turning back. You need to find out about him and the stories that he possesses.
This is the setting that Joe Hill THRIVES in, and I think that’s what is going to make this five-issue story something unique. Something that caught me with the first issue is how much information is packed within this first issue, but you still want to hold on. Joe Hill is the master of conversation. He’s also the master of crafting characters that feel so natural and effortlessly bounce off each other, even when they despise each other.
In the first bit with Syd and the guy telling him about why Carl Dixon has to die, I was spellbound with their conversation. It was to the point where I was disappointed when it ended. You can already see the seeds being planted in this first issue, and that’s the brilliance of when I said it packs a lot of information. It goes from something minimum, like stealing jokes, to a whodunit without pause. I’m excited to see what twists and turns this story has next.
Martin Simmonds’s art is your best kind of lucid dreams. Simmonds’s art is this type of mosaic masterpiece that you don’t see in other creations. He has details that you want to look deeper into just in case they connect to the story in some way or little details that might be only his. Simmonds weaves his art in these panels that make Hill’s script complete. He brings an abstract and disorienting nature to them at times, but they’re so beautiful and hypnotizing that you need to look closer. With Dee Cunniffe assisting in colors, that closer look is tenfold. Cunniffe supplies that neon type glow (with some bisexual lighting) with the noir filing to the mix.
With the amount of story and gorgeous art among these panels, the final piece of this creative team isn’t complete without the unbelievable job Shawn Lee does with his lettering. He guides your eyes in his lettering, moving gracefully from panel to panel without missing anything that’s happening in the art. He allows the story to shine and almost places the bubbles in a way that’s quite funny to me. It highlights the characters in their panels and their moments to shine, but never takes away from your reading experience one bit.
If you enjoy the sounds of a neon-noir whodunit, you need to go pick up Dying is Easy #1. Joe Hill and Martin Simmonds create a well-executed and masterful story that allows you to build your list of suspects until the next issue hits.
Dying is Easy will be a five-part miniseries from IDW Publishing. You can pick up your copy of Dying is Easy #1 from IDW (print or digital), on Comixology, or visit and support your local comic book shop.