Miscellaneous Reviews:

Stray Bullets

(Stray Bullets Words and art by David Lapham, Trade paperback Volume I (collects issues 1-4), Trade paperback Volume II (collects issues 5-8), Published when possible by El Capitan comics)

I have to say I really like the writing in Stray Bullets. The characterisation is convincingly strong, and the protagonists are recognisable. From the retarded gangster in #1 to the pick-up chick in the most recent issue, these are people you'd know only too well if you met them.

Each issue is a self-contained story, with characters from other issues coming and going as the narrative takes them. All the characters seem to have a connection with mob boss Harry, and sometimes this connection causes a rude awakening for those unlucky to be involved.

Lapham regularly addresses such topics as drug use, child abuse (mothers aren't usually depicted in a flattering light -- want to tell us something, David?), alcoholism, illness and sex in the bleak light of the morning-after comedown. This could make Stray Bullets an incredibly depressing read, but Lapham knows how to make us laugh as well.

A comic for mature readers in the best sense of the word, Stray Bullets is a major plus point in the argument against the idea that comics are just for kids. There are two collections out now, and I'd certainly advise you to purchase them.

Website: http://www.straybullets.com A lot of this site is presently under construction, but it's gorgeously designed, and features some complete comics to download. Worth a visit for the animated Amy Racecar alone.

[Load time rating: pretty fast considering the graphics ****]

Anna Jellinek

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