Abbott

Abbott (2018)

Synopsis

Hard-nosed, chain-smoking tabloid reporter Elena Abbott investigates a series of grisly crimes that the police have ignored. Crimes she knows to be the work of dark occult forces. Forces that took her husband from her. Forces she has sworn to destroy.

From: BOOM! Studios

Notes on This Title

Abbott addresses antiblack racism and police brutality.

Awards

2018 Bram Stoker Awards Nominee for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
2019 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Graphic Story

Reviews

“Taking place in 1970s America, there’s a lot of casual racism and sexism in Abbott, but it’s delicately used and then immediately shut down either through context or characters’ own words. In his writing Ahmed shows that yes, these attitudes did exist in 1972 and yes, it often was this explicit, but at the same time no, it’s not OK — and it wasn’t at the time, either. There’s a difference between historical fiction that revels in racism and sexism and that which critiques it; this is the latter and shows us how it’s done.” (Source: CBR)

“1972 Detroit, much like Abbott herself, feels authentic. Race relations are terrible; the n-word is still freely abused by white men of power when they know someone else is listening. Abbott, writing at the Detroit Daily, is doing her part and, through hard, honest reporting, has become a champion/protector of the black community. When police being trying to pin a grisly mutilation on the specter of Black Panthers, she acts — all while twitching at the idea that some dark force from her past may be back for blood.” (Source: The Oregonian)

“Who knew that a hard-boiled crime drama about a black, female journalist in 1972 Detroit with mysterious supernatural abilities was exactly what the industry was waiting for? Writer Saladin Ahmed had already become the envy of scribes everywhere by gaining a hit with his very first stab at writing comics with Marvel’s Black Bolt, and his haters will only be made more frustrated by the fact that his sophomore effort is even better than its predecessor. Artists Sami Kivelä and Jason Wordie deal expertly in grit and gore, and their combination of scratchy linework, dynamic layouts, and nostalgic coloring dazzles the eyes. A TV adaptation of this sucker almost feels inevitable, so get in before the rush.” (Source: Vulture)

Interviews

BOOM! Studios: “Spotlight on Abbott”

CBR: “Saladin Ahmed’s Abbott Combines ’70s Race Politics & Supernatural Noir”

Entertainment Weekly: “Abbott: Saladin Ahmed previews his new ’70s paranormal investigator comic”

Graphic Policy: “Saladin Ahmed Talks His New Comic Series Abbott” (video)

Michigan Radio: “Writer Saladin Ahmed unveils ‘Abbott,’ an original comic series set in 1972 Detroit”

1 thought on “Abbott”

  1. This needs a warning for violence and gore (not just a bit of blood – there are sawed-in-half bodies), unless you think that’s unnecessary with the “adult” rating. No nudity though, aside from a few shirtless male chests and a vaguely drawn topless female statuette.

    There’s a lot of racism and sexism as that is kind of the point of choosing this setting, but despite of the time period, it’s surprisingly free from homophobia. I mean, it’s made very clear that the protagonist isn’t comfortable being out in public about her interest in women – which is why her ex-girlfriend is so pissed at her – but there are no slurs from other characters designed to use some version of “gay” as an insult of someone’s masculinity or anything like that. The worst in this regard is the protagonist’s ex-husband belittling the importance of her college-age relationship to the ex-girlfriend by calling the woman “your little friend”, and the villain calling the hippie-like owner of a esoteric shop “girlish”. (This character’s sexual orientation is never established, and the only “feminine” thing about him is his long hair and sort of sensual facial features – which makes him look more like an ancient Indian / renaissance Italy / Native American ideal of masculine beauty (his ethnicity is also never established and the Western name “Sebastian” is probably not his birth name) than he really looks like he’s trying to express a “femme” identity in the modern sense.)

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