23 days until Hellboy Day - Cindy Tynan
The Lobster, despite being the titular character or his own series, is only occasionally the central character of a Lobster Johnson story. He’s a character we experience from the outside, through the eyes of other characters, and the strength of any given story rests largely on through whose eyes the reader experiences it.
For me, the best Lobster Johnson stories are the ones with reporter Cindy Tynan as the lead. She’s not one of the Lobster’s crew, nor is she one of the villains, so when she looks at the Lobster she sees a broader spectrum of the character—the Lobster can be a hero, but he can also be a monster, whereas other characters tend to have a more polarized perspective.
It also helps that Cindy is never satisfied with seeing things as they are presented and generally accepted. She’s a natural skeptic, she digs deeper, and her mind changes. The Lobster’s crew and his villains largely remain static in this regard, so whenever Cindy shares a scene with the Lobster there’s electricity in the meeting. One of my favorite moments, a sequence from 2014’s Get the Lobster! has the Lobster visiting Cindy late at night at the Herald Tribune’s office. The sequence is an echo of a previous one in <The Burning Hand, and artist Tonci Zonjic uses visual quotes to show the way the power dynamics between the two have shifted since that story. Though they’ve known each other for two years by this point, the Lobster remains in shadow, his key feature being his glowing goggles, making him look like a predator in the dark. Cindy sees him less as a man now than when she first met him. The punctuated pauses in this exchange has Cindy weighing her every word while panels rest on details that prey on her mind, like the Lobster’s gun. Cindy’s perspective brings moral ambiguity to the fore in Lobster Johnson. Like any good reporter, she asks the questions that need asking.
This extends beyond just the Lobster too. Through Cindy we see the hypocritical and malicious nature of Detective Jake Eckerd, the fragility of Arnie Wald, and the corrupting influence of the Lobster on Harry McTell. Cindy makes Lobster Johnson’s world richer, highlighting both the human and inhuman elements of its characters.
All this sounds like I’m talking about other characters and just using Cindy as a framework, but this is all illustrative of her interior life. More than any other character in the series, Cindy is a character defined by how she thinks and how her thoughts evolve—how she challenges others and how she challenges herself. When Cindy catches herself just going through the motions, she breaks the cycle. That’s the reason she broke up with Harry and not vice versa—Harry is content in his cycles, but Cindy can’t be.
For now, Cindy’s off in Chicago, but perhaps this isn’t the last we’ll see of her in Lobster Johnson. Though the Lobster was famously most active in New York, he did spend some time in Chicago too. Hopefully there’s at least one more story with Cindy yet to tell.
You can read all about Cindy in...
Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand
Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus
Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster!
Lobster Johnson: The Forgotten Man
Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown
Lobster Johnson: The Pirate’s Ghost