Two weeks ago I reviewed a pulpy comic named WolfCop where I highlighted some of the major drawbacks and hurtles that face niche comics. Getting that perfect mix of outrageous action and story is hard to do when the material tends to toward the absurd. But "pulp" takes many forms and when it is done right, it can pack just as much emotional power as more mainstream mediums.
This comic reads much like a screenplay. In fact, if I were forced to describe this comic in one word, that word would be "cinematic." The story is told through a series of flashbacks as told to a child about the life of her mother, Daisy.
It's the summer of 1969, and nineteen year old Daisy is working just to make ends meet at a California diner. It seems grabby customers is a constant problem she has to deal with. Her shift can't end soon enough when her father comes to pick her up. Despite being sexually assaulted her father tells her she just needs to keep plugging away till she finds that one thing she loves. That one thing that keeps you getting up in the morning. He would continue, no doubt, with this soliloquy if he wasn't t-boned by a local gangster. Seeing an opportunity, Daisy's dad introduces himself as the best mechanic in the valley.
A few months later things seem to be looking up for the two of them. The shop is busy, Daisy's father is pulling in money hand over fist, and Daisy just got accepted to UCLA. Brimming with pride, her father gives her some money and tells her to go celebrate and watch a matinee. Daisy heads out and her dad calls the local tough. The garage is great place to "interrogate" those who have crossed "Johnny Nails." Daisy has a change of heart and heads back home, only to find her dad in the middle of smashing a guys face in with a crowbar. Tears streaming down her face, she figures out where all her families money is coming from. She packs up and leaves for LA.
Months pass, school is going well, and Daisy seems to be trying her best to forget about her father. However, her father has been trying his best to get a hold of her. Her room mate finally convinces her to return one of his phone calls. He apologizes and promises he has cut all ties to organized crime. With heartfelt pleading, he convinces her to come and have dinner tonight at home. She agrees, ready to make amends.
Unfortunately Johnny Nails doesn't let people cut their ties with him. As Daisy's dad is preparing dinner, Nails pays him a visit. Daisy arrives to find her dad tied up and getting the shit kicked out of him. She's tied up as well and forced to watch her dad dowsed in gas and lit aflame. The entire garage goes up like kindling as Johnny Nails walks away.
There is literally nothing I didn't like about this comic. The story, dialog, pacing, and illustration are all just about perfect for my taste. Everything comes together in such a cohesive manner that even though I normally would be more critical of the art styling, it works so well in this setting that I can't complain. I found myself audibly gasping as turned the pages, and as a long time comic book reader, that is rare.
I can't wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds.