IDW’s Dying Is Easy is a crime story from horror writer Joe Hill and artist Martin Hammonds. With Dee Cunniffe providing additional coloring and lettering by Shawn Lee, this stylistic Neo-Noir series captures an era as it develops. A collection releases to stores on October 28th at the crux of these developments near the election.
Dying Is Easy AKA Syd’s Inferno of Bias
Dying Is Easy follows ex-cop and failing comedian Syd Homes. Syd is a very sympathetic character. Most people never let him have a break. Some of it is justified. Syd wants people to laugh at him rather than with him during his stand-up. Others aren’t as justified, like Syd’s ex-father-in-law blaming him for his daughter being gay. This turns out to be all the justification that man needs when Syd is framed for murder. Hill’s ability in showcasing conflict and stakes leaves the reader rooting for Syd all the way. Hill even gets the reader to laugh with Syd instead of at him when Syd does something crazy like chase suspects on skates.
The Art of Dying Is Easy
Artist Martin Simmonds gives plenty of detail and atmosphere in Dying Is Easy. Some pages feature wide two-page spreads with panels reacting to big scenes. Take, for example, when panels tilt diagonally as he’s chasing a jeep on roller skates. Other times one page can foreshadow an action that comes later in an issue, as is the case in issue 5.
The coloring, with assistance from Dee Cunniffe, helps set the mood. Most of the indoor locations have bright colors in an otherwise dim place. The characters all look like they’re in a state of confusion. The fact that they practically blend into the monochromatic backgrounds of these settings is like they’re walking through a limbo. Unlike when actual sunlight is shining and the characters act more lively.
Shawn Lee, as designer and letterer, helps ensure that no element is too small to fit this atmosphere. The word balloons and empty word marks look like extensions of the brushwork by Simmonds. As for the filled SFX, they might not match Simmonds artwork but they remain a consistent white that never feels out of place in Dying Is Easy.
Some Bonus Subject Matter
On a side note, Dying Is Easy has a hiatus period during the Covid-19 lockdowns. It seems Joe Hill goes to great lengths distill events down, keeping things relevant. When Syd is fed some intel that some black kids had the victim’s wallet and supposedly hears their confession, he pursues them in an over-the-top way. Naturally, this comes with some bad implications that can be outright racism in a certain context. Confirmation bias is a powerful thing that can manipulate people into changing truths to suit only their needs. Considering how much of that happens in the real world between and after issues 4 and 5, lends a lot of emotional weight.
Truths Are Hard But Satisfying
Dying Is Easy is a good story made slightly better for its depiction of confirmation bias. When every bad thing in life can look too convenient to blame on someone else, it just might be. There are a lot of complicated factors that people will be sure to miss. Whether it’s in the narrative or real life, this collection could not release at a better time.