Publication Dates: December 1988 – June 1989
Number of Issues Published: 7 (#1 – #7)
Dimensions: Standard Modern Age U.S.
Paper Stock: Glossy Cover; Newsprint Interior
Publishing Format: Was On-Going
Publication Type: magazine
Numbering continues with The Maze Agency (Innovation, 1989 series) #8
Publication Dates: December 1989 – August 1991
Number of Issues Published: 16 (#8 – #23)
Dimensions: Standard Modern Age US
Publishing Format: Was ongoing
Publication Type: magazine
Information thanks to the Grand Comics Database
The Maze Agency is an American mystery comic book series created by Mike W. Barr and first published in 1988. It revolves around a pair of detectives (Jennifer Mays and Gabriel Webb) and their adventures solving puzzling murders. The Maze Agency was a 1989 nominee for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best New Series.
The Maze Agency is notable for being one of the few mystery comic books to “play fair” with the reader — i.e. giving out sufficient clues for the reader to solve the mystery. However, in a February 2004 interview, creator and writer Mike W. Barr admitted that “Some of the Maze stories, frankly, are not fair-play whodunits to the reader, in that the story is possibly too complex for the reader to solve.” He cited as comparison an anecdote wherein the two creators of Ellery Queen were giving an interview, and one said “Ellery Queen is always fair to the reader,” to which the other replied, “Ellery Queen is always fair to the reader if the reader is a genius.” As Mike W. Barr is a fan of the series of Ellery Queen mysteries, the comic has much the same feel, sharing qualities such as the occasional “challenge to the reader” to solve the mystery, and an incorrect solution being offered by a character before the real answer is revealed. Barr even used Ellery as a guest star in Maze Agency #9.
Jennifer Mays is a smart, tough, and sexy ex-CIA agent who runs the private detective agency for which the comic is named. Gabriel Webb is one of the few people to see her softer, tender side.
Gabriel Webb is a true-crime writer who longs to create more cerebral stories than his sensationalist editors like. He’s a little scatterbrained and easily distracted, but has a first-rate deductive mind. Although he’s romantically involved with Mays and helps her with many of her cases, he feels that the relationship makes accepting her repeated offer to join her business professionally inappropriate.
Detective Roberta Bliss is an NYPD homicide detective of Puerto Rican descent whom Webb and Mays often deal with in solving cases. She is sometimes annoyed by their tendency to complicate cases, but knows that they have the ability to crack murders that she’d have a hard time solving alone.
Ashley Swift is the head of the rival Swift Detective Agency, and Mays’ former boss. She’s a good detective, though not as good as Mays and Webb, but her arrogance has a habit of rubbing her ex-employee the wrong way.