Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lobster Johnson #1 (of 5)

Writer and artist Mike Mignola has created some delightful and twisted characters of the years - and here's one now.

Lobster Johnson has his roots firmly set in the pulp magazines of the '30s and '40s, and that's evident in this comic that perfectly imitates the rough-and-tumble style of those stories.

What's surprising about this first issue is how little we see of the title character - in fact, if you tore out one page (not recommended), you'd almost completely excise him from the tale.

But that's not a criticism - what you have is a strange tale (written by Mignola and John Arcudi) about ghostly Indians, desperate gangsters, a determined (and yes, plucky) female reporter and what happens when all of the above encounter the merciless Lobster Johnson.

I wish the creative teams behind the recent Doc Savage revival had emulated this story - this is pulp fiction done properly.

The art is by Tonci Zonjic, whose work I'm not familiar with - but I like it a lot. It's a fresh style that moves easily between strong character moments and vicious action sequences. The layouts are strong and the characters animated and lively.

What really makes this book work is the sense of humor that flows through it. Like his Hellboy work, Migola knows how to balance drama and humor to maximum effect, and it makes for a comic that's a heck of a lot of fun to read.


Grade: A-


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