Previously in Peepland #1
Roxy and Nick realize that Dirty Dick’s tape contained evidence of the Central Park Slayer, and more importantly, recognize that the thugs will not stop looking for the tape. Wanting to get a better look at the murderers they rewind the tape, but as anybody who grew up with VCRs can remember the VCR eats the tapes. At this point I was a little confused as their problem seemed to be solved. But nevertheless, they go to a friend, Snyder, who seems to work for the Peepshow’s production department and he agrees to repair their VCR tape in exchange for Roxy performing in five commercials free of charge.
Unfortunately for them, Snyder not only watches the tape but figures out that the man who kills the woman in the tape also works for a real estate developer, Simon West, who seems to be running for some type of public office (perhaps mayor), and immediately gets it in his head to blackmail the official.
Meanwhile, we get some exposition on the thugs that have been pursuing the tape, including their names, Ray and Benny, and that they indeed work for Simon West who threatens to replace them if they can’t find the tape. The goons eventually get a lead on Roxy’s Uncle Leo from one of her co-workers, but as they follow up they get a call from Simon, who’s just received the ransom letter from Snyder. Unfortunately for his dumb ass he delivers the letter himself, instead of using a messenger and gets caught on tape.
As the police investigate the Central Park Slaying they focus their search on Lorenzo Nichols, Aiseha Nichols’ (Roxy’s co-worker/friend) son, who was seen leaving the park right after the murder with scratches on his face. It wasn’t lost on me how this was either a homage or a blatant rip-off the Central Park Five case: the cops detain Lorenzo, try to coerce him into a confession (not caring whether he’s innocent or not) and even when Aiesha is brought in at Lorenzo’s insistence, the bullying continues throughout day with threats of prosecuting him as an adult if the doesn’t plead and give up his friends. As a distraught Aiesha explains to her girlfriend AJ that without a real lawyer, the public defender advised them to take a plea, her son doesn’t have a chance.
Aiesha doesn’t get any help from her family as they blame her son’s predicament on her not having a man and “catting around with godless perverts and sodomites”. Meanwhile, AJ wanting to please Aiesha, goes to her racist asshole brothers (one of them calls Aiesha a jungle bunny as well as the N-word) and tells them she needs a big score. Her brothers agree, but more because it’s what they do not to help her.
This comic still suffers some pacing issues as it takes some time to figure out what’s going on every time the panels changes scenes, but it’s mitigated somewhat by naming different neighborhoods for different characters. I’m still having trouble following some of the story. Who the fuck was the black blind man who was contemplating suicide after his nightmare of someone, probably his mother, from his past getting killed in front of him? Perhaps he’s a lawyer that will help Aiesha and her son. Also, there were a couple of other panels where I didn’t know who they were showing me. In any case, I’m still enjoying the story and I’m looking forward to Roxy’s attempt to recover the tape now that its importance is magnified by the inclusion of evidence that will exonerate her friend’s son.
Some final thoughts: As well as the Central Park Five comparisons, it was also not lost on me the resemblance of Simon West to or our current President-Elect. If he comes out next issue and implicates Lorenzo, I’ll know that it’s on purpose. Also, on the back of the comic, Christa Faust writes a little snippet about her life growing up in NY and I didn’t realize that she worked at a peepshow herself, which lends an intimate perspective to the story. You can tell what kind of relationship she had with the cops as both issues portray them as total assholes.