And here’s how I ended the month of June.... (All works with a + are part of the ongoing SXSW 2014 Starter Pack review series.)
+ Scam (2013) Joe Mulvey (Comix Tribe)
The ComiXology description reads, SCAM is "X-Men meets Oceans 11″ and involves a team of super-powered grifters on the biggest con of their lives...taking down a Vegas casino and getting revenge on a former teammate who double-crossed them. "It's better to die a conman, than live like a mark!"
I love tales about con men, grifters and the like, so Scam certainly piqued my interest. The story gets a little confusing at times, mainly because some of the characters look a little too much alike. Oceans 11 is a good comparison, so if you liked those films, I’d recommend this 5-issue volume.
Thief of Thieves, Vol. 1: “I Quit.” (2012) Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer, Shawn Martinbrough (Image)
Conrad Paulson can steal anything, or I should say his alias “Redmond” can steal anything. Paulson would love nothing more than to quit his life of thievery, but his son wants to carry on his dad’s criminal tradition. Thief of Thieves is a fun series, but after reading a lot of Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips collaborations lately, it’s a little on the light side.
Velvet, Vol. 1: Before the Living End (2014) Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting (Image)
See my review at The Comics Alternative podcast.
Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse (J 2012) Nate Cosby, Chris Eliopoulos (Archaia)
You’ve never seen a bounty hunter quite like Cow Boy. He’s tough as nails, can shoot like nobody’s business, and might just put his entire family behind bars. You may find yourself laughing at many of Cow Boy’s situations, but don’t be surprised if you find a few sobering thoughts as well. One of the blurbs on the back cover suggests that Cow Boy is what would happen if Charles Schultz and Frank Miller collaborated. I’d say that’s fairly accurate. The book also includes short stories by Roger Langridge, Brian Clevinger, Scott Wegener, Mike Mailhack and Colleen Coover.
Basewood (2014) Alec Longstreth (Phase Seven)
Longstreth’s Kickstarter project is one of those quiet books that could easily slip past the attention of most people, but I don’t want that to happen. A man awakens in the woods with no memory of who or where he is. He meets an old hermit who lives in a treehouse with his dog, who constantly watch the skies for a deadly dragon.
This is a wonderful book with gorgeous black-and-white art that deserves a wide readership. Derek and I will be discussing this book more on an upcoming interview with Longstreth on The Comics Alternative podcast, so stay tuned!
Criminal: The Deluxe Edition: Volume 2 (2012) Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips
There’s nobody doing crime noir quite like Brubaker and Phillips. Each of the three story arcs stands alone, yet they all contain interconnected characters, making for an entire Criminal universe that demands to be read as one large unit. If you haven’t read it, pick up the first deluxe edition.
Rachel Rising, Vol. 4: Winter Graves (2014) Terry Moore
I recently read that Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising will soon come to an end, which is disappointing, but inevitable, I suppose. Moore has the ability to write meaningful stories about people and relationships, as he did so superbly with Strangers in Paradise, but by adding in horror elements - and not just horror-for-horror’s-sake, but horror with a disturbing (yet sometimes comedic) impact - he’s created one of the best horror titles in years.
Sibyl-Anne vs. Ratticus (1966-67/2011) R. Macherot (Fantagraphics)
All is well in the peaceful French countryside until the rat Ratticus decides to overthrow Sibyl-Anne’s quiet animal community. He enlists the help of a starving rat population, promising freedom and an unlimited food supply. Originally published in the 1960s in France and Belgium, Sibyl-Anne vs. Ratticus is one of those titles that can be enjoyed as a fun adventure romp and as political/cultural satire. Well worth a look.