Bury the Lede
Writer: Gaby Dunn
Artist: Claire Roe
Colorist: Miguel Muerto
Letterer: Mike Fiorentino
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Gaby Dunn’s Bury the Lede ticks so many of my boxes it’s almost hard to believe. The story follows Madison Jackson, a journalism student interning at The Boston Lede, a fictionalized version of the Globe. Desperate for a story that will put her name on the map, Madison follows a police scanner to murder involving one of Boston’s most elite families. Then when the sole suspect, Delilah Kennedy, will speak only to Madison and not to anyone else, things quickly spiral out of control as Madison becomes a pawn in Delilah’s game, uncovering a scandal that will change the entire fabric of Madison’s life and Boston as a whole.
Based largely on Dunn’s own experiences as a young, hungry reporter, Bury the Lede features two queer women of color, figureheads that markedly resemble politicians in the real world, and plenty of commentary on journalists’ role in a corrupt society. Falling into the same vein as Lois Lane by Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins or even Transmetropolitan, this graphic novel tackles ethics, identity, politics, sex abuse, and police practices through the lens of a young woman who will stop at nothing to uncover and broadcast the truth.
Like I said, this OGN ticks several of my boxes, though it does have its flaws. Although the story is deeply compelling, it suffers from uneven pacing. Dunn’s script also lacks cohesion at several points, which muddles some of the more triumphant moments and pushes the characters to behave in ways that don’t always make sense as the story moves from Point A to Point B. That said, Claire Roe’s illustrations are absolutely stunning, especially paired with Miguel Muerto’s colors. The art has an ebb and flow that provides much-needed context and absolutely steals the show, especially in the latter half of the book. Likewise, Mike Fiorentino’s lettering spotlights Madison’s inner monologue and sets the tone for the rest of the story, which helps significantly in those patchy spots where things feel lacking.
Perhaps the strongest element of this book is its aesthetic: Roe’s panel layouts and Jillian Crab’s design work give the story a rich, textured noir feel that leans into modern technology and reporting techniques rather than shying away from them. We see shots of Madison’s phone, the paper, the internet, TV news, and even social media reactions to what’s happening, all of which makes the story feel even more real. One of my favorite details is a particular panel where someone dials 9-1-1 with blood on their hands, and the blood marks those spots on the screen of their smartphone.
Bury the Lede offers compelling characters, incredible visuals, and a story that twists and turns enough times to hold a reader’s interest, in spite of some areas where the connecting threads haven’t been woven tightly enough to hold. If you’re looking for a mystery with queer leads, this one is definitely worth checking out. The book hits comic shops Wednesday, October 2 and bookstores Tuesday, October 8 from BOOM! Studios.