There’s only one reason that David wasn’t one of the first people that I put up on the page, and that’s because he doesn’t have a website. Stupid, I know, and it takes away from the point of having most of the page be dedicated to small press stuff. What’s more small press than not even having your own web page, even if he is getting some kind of “mainstream” (it’s ridiculous to even use that word in connection with comics) acceptance? Anyway, I decided to sit down and read this whole series at once today, and I can longer accept not having him on the page. This was a long, good book from somebody who was already very good at telling short stories. This is a noir tale about a man who has his rich, aloof wife kill herself and the problems he deals with from there. It’s not as simple as that, obviously. He finds an old crush from high school, and there’s the current mistress he has to deal with. Throw in a private detective hired by his mother-in-law who wants desperately to see him suffer and you have a smorgasboard of deceit and betrayal. Nobody involved in this is an innocent in any way, and the story had me guessing right up until the very end, which is all you can ask out of a story like this.
Even with as good as this was, it was obvious that he’s still learning. He had this planned as an eight issue series and it ended up being nine, with the last one being twice as big. I thought it could have been shaved down just the slightest bit, so maybe he should have stuck with the original plan. Still, it’s tough to use a lot of the noir dialogue in the modern day, so it’s tough to say that it would have worked any better if it was wordier and shorter than it did when there were large silent chunks in this to tell you what was going on. This is a major work from somebody who is still learning his trade (don’t forget the fact that he’s prolific, which is so incredibly rare in quality comics), and I for one can’t wait to see what he does next. I’ll put a link up to buy this as soon as I find one, but until then you can always just contact the author if you’re really interested and don’t live near and good comic shops, as most of them would at least be able to get this: El Capitan Books P.O. Box 351508 Los Angeles, CA 90035.
Stray Bullets Vol.1
I think this reviewing thing is a virus sometimes. Here I am, sitting at work at the comic store. I realize that I haven’t read Stray Bullets in a while so I sit down, read it… and I realized that the section on my page for this book was blank. Damn you website, why can’t I just read one book without blabbing about it? Ah, my problems, they are serious. Anyway, I thought that maybe this book wouldn’t age well, what with the incredible work he’s doing these days with the series. It’s different, sure, but the kernals of what makes it so great now are right here. All kinds of familiar faces too, but I’ll learn more about that when I get through the whole run. In these days he mostly only did stories from issue to issue. The first story (unrelated to the rest except for the fact that it introduces the mysterious “Harry”) is about a couple of hired goons trying to dispose of a body. Nothing is ever that easy in this series, as you’ll see. The second story is about a little girl who witnesses a murder and has one of the most… what the word when it feels like your stomach just jumps out of your body? That’s what the ending is like. The third story is about a party after a job and it introduces all kinds of characters that come up later: Beth, Nina, and Monster that I can remember, and I’ve never read this stuff all in a row. The fourth story, well, I don’t want to ruin anything for you but it took the edge off one of the other stories in the book a little bit and has a completely unexpected ending, what with the theme of everything else in here. If you haven’t read this series yet, this is one of those cases where the first book is a perfect place to start. It’s only $11.95 too, so it’s not too expensive to just go crazy one day and buy the whole mess of stuff…
Stray Bullets 28
I don’t know why I’m not waiting until these are collected to tell you about this. This was the last part of the storyline and it should be out soon, it’s just… people need to know about this. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think this is too popular to be any good, and they’re just wrong. The utter lack of happy endings is kind of depressing sometimes, sure, but that’s about the only negative thing I can say about this. The art has become one of my favorites and he has the whole noir style of writing nailed. He’s kind of like Dan Clowes to me in that everything he’s done has been better than the book before, even when I thought he had peaked. The frustrating thing about this series right now is that I’m in the middle of moving, so half of this story is in Ohio and the rest of it is here. What’s the story about, you ask? What do you think this is, some kind of review? Well, without giving anything away, there’s a kidnapping, a runaway, a Monster, some killing… you know, the usual. I’m not sure if this will be #7 or 8 in the series, but I’ll let you know. If you’ve ever wanted to try this series but didn’t know where to start, here’s a good spot.
Stray Bullets #29
Did I say that that last issue was a good place to start? No, actually the best place to start would be at the beginning, that was only if you were broke and wanted to pick up one of the issues instead of one of the collections. Honestly, I’ve read this in chunks that have been too spread apart for me to know how coherent this has been from the start (I’m getting to it, really I am), but it’s really coming together now. This has become the best noir comic going and David even has the common decency to put it out on a regular basis. This issue is about the police trying to find Virginia Applejack, who you may remember from way back in the third issue (or the second), or maybe from other parts of the series that I’m too lazy to reference right now. Contact info is way up there but I’d still recommend that you get the books to see what’s going on here. There aren’t many comics out there that come out on a regular basis and are this engaging, so buy it already.
Stray Bullets #30
After what’s been going on in this series lately, this issue could almost be considered a break. And there’s a happy ending! You might think that I’m giving too much away, but the title of the story is “Happy Ending”, and how much does that really give away anyway? The story here is that Bobby takes a gun to school to impress his classmates. Not that much funny there, but there’s actually a funny line here and there. Compared to most of his stuff, this is almost lighthearted. Kind of a “break” issue in the big story (at least that’s my judgment, but what do I know), but that almost makes it a perfect comic to pick up and try if you don’t know where to try out this series. Why don’t I have the website linked anywhere up there? Oh well, it’s fixed now.