In recent days, we’ve shown you what a lone resourceful author can do puttering about with computer video tools to promote her book. This morning, graphic novel publishers First Second remind us that it never hurts to be able to throw money at the screen. The trailer for Eddie Campbell‘s The Black Diamond Detective Agency is so slick, right down to the breathless narration (“framed for a crime he didn’t commit!”), that it makes me wish this was a real movie—not surprisingly, since it’s based on an unproduced screenplay by Blood Diamond scribe C. Gaby Mitchell. Campbell’s artwork is definitely the draw here, lending the video a unified aesthetic that most homegrown trailers can’t quite match; my slapdash storyboard above gives you a rough feel for the visual dynamism, but you should really see it in motion for yourself. By the time you get to the DePalma-esque split-screen effect, you should be hooked—but be advised that the plot centers around a horrendous explosion that leaves scenes of gory devastation clearly intended as a 19th-century echo of the World Trade Center disaster, so those with delicate sensibilities may choose to simply take my word on the video’s power. As for the book, it ships this week. (I know I’ve been persuaded to go look for it, but frankly they had me at “Eddie Campbell.”)
UPDATE: Even more impressive—turns out the trailer isn’t as expensive as it looks. Spiegel & Grau‘s anticipated literary sensation, Janelle Brown (a former colleague from the Wired heyday), emailed to let me know that her husband, Greg Harrison, “did all the animation and editing and sound design, got the graphics and voice people,” and so on, with a operating budget of “hardly any money at all” for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment… and that there may well be some interest in making an actual movie from the story. Fingers crossed; the last time a Campbell project made it to the big screen was From Hell.