I dug Jason Aaron and Jason Latour‘s Southern Bastards from the first issue, but only in a very peripheral way. And for the record, I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. It was actually A Voice in the Dark‘s Larime Taylor, back when he guested on Drinking with Comics, that brought Southern Bastards to my attention, and after picking up and reading issue #1 I ear-marked it as a series to follow. A lot of that was based on how striking and original Mr. Latour’s art and colors were, coupled with the fact that I had previously loved Mr. Aaron’s Scalped, a series I unfortunately still have not completed to this day (it’s in the works…). However, as you may have noticed if you read this column there are a lot of series I follow, and in the tide of my weekly stacks – stacks that seem to grow exponentially month by month – Southern Bastards was a book that I bought but didn’t read for the next few months. When I bought issue #4 I finally caught up, and by the end of it I was a little shocked at the direction some things had taken, not even realizing the… um, how to do this without spoilers… severity of what had happened to one of the characters in the book. Until I picked up issue #5 the other day. After reading the first few pages of that one, well, let’s just say my jaw hit the freakin’ ground.
I am now telling everyone I can that this book not only just shot to the top tier of my “Must read this RIGHT BLOODY NOW” list every month, but also that I’m predicting that Southern Bastards will be a book that, when all is said and done, will rank right up there with Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher and Hellblazer run. And if you know me, you know I consider those two books to pretty much be the be-all-end-all of storytelling in comics.
I’m not joking; Southern Bastards is going to be a huge read. If you’re not reading it, the first four books constitute the initial arc of the series and they are now available from Image Comics as a $9.99 trade paperback, so go ahead and grab that from your local shop. Then grab issue #5 and tell me if I’m wrong.
I’m really expecting great things from Mr. Aaron and Mr. Latour’s book, and I know I won’t be disappointed. I can honestly say I’m not really sure what this book is moving toward and that’s a wonderful and rare feeling after five issues in. So bring it on guys, I’m in for the long haul.
Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!
Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.