THE LITTLE SISTER
Anyone who's found Chandler's peerless Philip Marlowe novels tangled (and who hasn't?) may have wondered if reimagining them as comic books--sorry, graphic novels--would make their dizzying plotlines any clearer. In adapting the 1949 tale of Marlowe's strangest client--Orfamay Quest, who's looking for a little brother who obviously doesn't want to be found--DC comic artist Lark wields a stylish, even severe, pen. There's practically no blood, despite several killings with ice pick and pistol; the Art Deco visuals are so restrained that each panel rarely shows more than a couple of generic heads or heads-and-shoulders; and all Marlowe's best wisecracks remain intact in outsized dialogue bubbles. Sadly, despite a few helpfully illustrated flashbacks, so does all of Chandler's original confusion. Worth having as an adjunct to the novel, though the main effect of Lark's adaptation is to provide 144 pages of talking heads.