Over an hour? We’ve had to wait well over a decade! And today we get two new Stray Bullets comics at once from David Lapham.
The comic specialised in telling hard, human, crime dramas with bad people doing bad things, and occasionally good things just to put you on the wrong footing, good people being corrupted by others or by their own greed and others, merely passers by, getting hit by the crossfire. Caught by the stray bullets.
And these two issues are perfect examples of that. Issue 41 concludes the story from last previous issue, issue 40, but don’t worry if you can’t remember or you never read it. There’s no need for captions or “last week on Buffy The Vampire Slayer” prologues, the story, the world, the people in it, catch you up pretty damn fast. What you recognise here will give you all you need, anything more you can pick up from previous issues is a bonus.
And it’s full of the pauses, the looks to absence, the power of the gun and the ability for a man to act like a god if they have the will and no one to challenge them. I’d forgotten, or never realised, how much Stray Bullets owes to the storytelling and styles of fellow comic creators Charles Burns and Dan Clowes, rather than just other crime fiction. The blacks, the ugliness, the way dialogue just drifts off, as well as the shock and confrontation of the now. And it’s a good use of that style, attaching it to these kind of stories.
And while issue 41 shows us people already mixed up in this dark world, at different levels, the new issue 1, Stray Bullets The Killers has that world mixed with the ordinary folk, with children’s lives and perspectives on the adult world at odds with reality. With the seriousness of a situation never quite impacting on them, but the audience seeing every frown, every gesture and building up our own picture.
We know. We become co-conspirators, there is no way we can tell this child what we see, time and time again. After all they have their own microcosm of the world, intersected by the bigger picture and reflecting it but without realising that much more is at stake.
There’s more to come, but there doesn’t need to be. We could leave it here and say no more. But we won’t, we’ll be back. Comic of the week.
Oh and also? Nice to see hand lettering again. I’m glad that’s one thing that hasn’t updated with the new book.
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