Saturday, December 30, 2017

Rock Candy Mountain, Volume One: No Exit

First off, if you have been reading my blog for long, you'll know that I am totally in the bag for whatever Kyle Starks creates. I have pledged to multiple Kickstarter campaigns and send him money every month via Patreon (you can, too!). I love his brand of action/intrigue/punching/jokes/pop culture sensibility, and I try to sing his hosannas when given chance. Needless to say, I was excited to see he had an ongoing series in the works. And better yet, I am tickled to tell you that it's great. If you love action/mystery stories set in post-WWII America that feature lots of punching and witty dialogue, not to mention starring people who go by names of their geographic points of origin and/or prominent physical features, Rock Candy Mountain is the book for you.

Mostly, it tells the tale of a couple of hobos in post-WWII America. The first, a failed actor named Pomona Slim, is new to riding the rails and he needs lots of hand-holding. The second is Jackson, a mysterious figure who is great in a fight and has many secrets. Jackson takes up with Slim, and the two meet lots of interesting people along the way, like other hobos, tramps, bums, the King of the Hobos, and The Devil himself. They also end up in some shady spots, including railway lots, underground fight clubs, and prison. In addition, I should note, Jackson is wanted by the US government for having a specific (though unnamed) artifact. All of these ingredients add up to one spicy and delicious stew.

Abetting Starks in this series is Chris Schweizer, himself also an accomplished graphic novelist whose series The Crogan Adventures and The Creeps are some of my favorite comics from the past decade. He does the colors, contributing a muted though effectively nuanced atmosphere to the proceedings, which complements the energetic and emotive artwork to a T. He also has a Patreon page where I contribute every month. Starks talks about his collaborating with Schweizer as well as his work on this series and in general in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have sung its praises. Samantha Puc stated, "This book completely shocked me with its palpable humor and emotional depth." River Godbee called it "very unique," adding that it featured "a great story with some amazing art." Jeremy Nisen wrote, "Our only complaint is that this first volume only holds four issues' worth of the series, and we want more. Now. Perhaps even more than that mythical lake of stew, and of whiskey too."

Rock Candy Mountain was published by Image Comics, and they offer previews and more here. This book contains the first four issues of the series, and it features a fair amount of swearing and violence, not to mention a couple of adult situations, so it is recommended for readers mature enough to deal with such material (as you'll see in the excerpt below).

No comments:

Post a Comment