I'm back again.

After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign! I'm taking a breather from drawing/lettering/inking/coloring the remaining pages of Mayfield Eight Part 4 to talk a bit about the last comic that I read.

Thank you one and all who participated in the Kickstarter! With over 90 backers I've raised over $2700 and am well on my way towards getting Parts 3 and 4 out there in the world! Thank you again!

Stray Bullets

Stray Bullets Vol. 1: The Age of Nihilism
By David Lapham
with help from Maria Lapham, his wife.
132 pages
published by Image Comics
Buy it HERE.

Master of character and shadow.

I've reviewed David Lapham's Lodger a few months back. The premise was real cool, the first few pages riveting. I got sidetracked by too many flashbacks and jumping back-and-forth from the girl heroine at 14 to 18 years old.

That said I was hoping to enter Stray Bullets with a clearer agenda. It starts out simply enough. Two bad guys with a body in the trunk doing a job for the Mob Boss. They're on the road at night, get a flat tire. A cop tries to help them, and the kid of the pair kills him. Bit by bit that's his main M.O. as the story progresses until only he's left alive.
This was followed by six more chapters, with the connective tissue being a few characters who know or will know other characters in chapters to follow.


Nasty people.

Stray Bullets isn't concerned with story arcs. The characters who go about their actions behave like stage play actors rehearsing a scene. The upside is that we get clear and fresh emotional interactions. Everything is blunt and direct. The downside is that we get too many abrupt endings. To make a scene work in a play it needs to blend seamlessly with the larger whole, and David Lapham doesn't attempt this here.

Deals go wrong. People get shot. A girl gets bullied and runs away. A nerdy boy takes drugs and is seduced by a bored older woman. There's lots of stuff going on here for sure. I only wish that the consequences of their actions could pull the larger elements of the book together instead of just getting chopped off. Don't go looking for white hats here either. Almost every character in Stray Bullets operates from a despicable and downright perverted frame of mind -beyond greed and simple aggressiveness to an outright Sadistic desire to cause harm. But what do you expect from a book that has 'Nihilism' in its title?

Strong points.

Stray Bullets really stands out visually though. It's hard to find indie books that are drawn so skillfully with a master-hand working the lines and shadows. David Lapham's strength is in his noir-shadowed faces that lurk in the dark, usually with a wide-eyed look of terror.

Buy this for the characters, they really jump out and come to life. But don't expect any 'noir-ish' dark reflections set against polite society like The Big Sleep or Out of the Past. Perhaps it's David's innate naiveté, his obsessions with spring boarding starting off points without perfecting the follow-through of a mature writer.

Next Tuesday:

Yeah, I kept dissing on Sons of Anarchy the comic book (and the show too to my friends) as being kinda cheesy.

However, here's a special GN I got in the mail that is NOT based on the show's storyline but rather a whole separate story arc by none other than Ed Brisson himself, whom I admire greatly. Should be really good!

Sons of Anarchy Vol III

10454 Lomita Ave #B, Felton
United States