There are two titles under the Wish You Were Here title, The Innocents and They Found the Car, both by Gipi, an Italian artist and writer, that are a part of the Ignatz line of books from Fantagraphics.
The Innocents was published in 2005. It tells a really simple story on the surface that hides a lot of depth. A grown and now reformed criminal is taking his nephew out for the day when he gets a call from one of his old running buddies and the two go to meet him. This is a story where the crimes are kept way the hell off the page and focuses on the psychological development and growth of these characters. The reformed man has come along way and his growth is really highlighted when we meet the cracked out friend. The flashbacks are rendered in a jittery and sketchy style where the lines look as if they are going to fall right off the page underscoring the fragile nature of memory. The flashbacks add depth to the two men in a meaningful way and Gipi isn’t afraid to keep vital information off the page and let the reader fill in the gaps.
The second book is They Found the Car. This is as tightly constructed and brilliantly told one shot crime comic you are likely to find. A man is woken up in the middle of the night by a voice on the phone from the past that utters the four words of the title “They found the car”. The two men meet up and set about tying up the loose ends from whatever it is that they did. Just as Gipi did in The Innocents he bravely withholds info from the reader. We don’t know what these men did. Their night journey will lead right into the heart of darkness. Blood will be shed, an unexpected participant will join them and the end will blow you the hell away.
Two comics, cheaply priced, that are both great in their own way. They Found the Car belongs on every crime comics fans shelf. I’ve since re-read it a few times and it never diminishes. Unlike The Innocents though They Found the Car doesn’t deal in flashbacks. None at all. Everything is kept in the present as the tension mounts. The story feels like it has an inevitable end right up until the last moment.