Thee Comic Column #85: Southern Bastards

image courtesy of Southern Bastards.com

I had heard a bit about Southern Bastards, but only about enough to know it was on the horizon. Other than that it wasn’t really on my radar. I dig Jason Aaron but the only one of his books I’ve read is Scalped, and unfortunately not all the way through. I’d borrowed about half of the trades from a friend, read them at increasingly frenetic voracity until I was current with where the series was at the time – about half way through. But then I found myself in that predicament so common to the TPB era we live in – if you come in on a book late in it’s run via trades do you go monthly afterwards? I know it’s the textbook definition of a ‘first world problem’ but really, the stuff I have split between both formats suffers a bit when it comes to re-reading or lending out. The same has been true of Locke and Key and I still haven’t finished that series either because of this weird little obsessive compulsive snafu. One day though, one day I know I’ll buy all the Scalped trades and read it in a few short sittings. That book – so good it should be a cable show. In the meantime now we have…

Southern Bastards.

I don’t know if I would have bought this issue if Mike at the Comic Bug hadn’t displayed that eerie prescience he does sometimes and thrown a copy in my pull. Not anything against the book, but there’s only so much $$$ I can throw at comics each month and as some of you may have noticed, I’m always pushing at the threshold of that magic number, so sometimes I try and put blinders on to new books so to speak.

Sometimes.

Still, I’ve never turned down a great book and thanks to Mike, looks as though I’ve got another one. Go back two Saturdays to Free Comic Book Day. By the time I got through the whole three-ring circus I blindly bought everything in my box at the ‘Bug without even considering this one title I wasn’t expecting. Good thing – it reminded me how much I loved Mr. Aaron’s take on what is essentially the modern west in Scalped – a kind of Native American Reservation Noir if you will. And in this first issue of Southern Bastards you can see a similar hard-nosed, oh-shit-we’re-f&*ked thing going on. Prodigal son returns, old grudges/histories rear their heads and the new boss is maybe even worse than the old boss.

Maybe.

One thing’s for sure, Jason Latour’s art seals the deal. It’s just the right amount of purposeful ‘rough-around-the-edges’ to bring to life the feeling that there’s a real Southern Gothic shitstorm heading our way in this book. Expect violence and hard-won life lessons. Not the “Mike, you shouldn’t pick on your sister’s boyfriend’ Growing Pains life lessons, but the “you shouldn’t a done shown up and messed in shit that don’t concern you’ life lessons that leave scars. Deep, deep scars. Mental and physical.

I’d definitely recommend this to fans of Timothy Olyphant’s Justified, True Detective or even DeadWood.

And I can’t wait for issue number 2!

……………………..

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 C Baker

Shawn C Baker

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.

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