‘Pariah, Missouri:’ Graphic Novel Review

“You learn something quick in Pariah.  Appearances are deceiving.  Not all come to the boom-town saddled with dreams and hopes.  Some come to escape.  And, some come to prey.”

Hiram Buchanan may look like just another foppish gambler come to make his fortune in Pariah, MO, the last town on the Mississippi before the Mexican border, yet he is anything but.  Working undercover for the mysterious Mr. Pinkerton, he’s investigating the strange undercurrents he’s discovered while waiting for his relatives to join him.

Andres Salazar’s Kickstarter-based project, Pariah, Missouri, has been collected into graphic novel format, telling the story of his discovery of the darker forces besieging the town with the arrival of the mysterious pair of puppeteers, the oily Scaramouch and the beautiful Olivia, and their showcase of the Emporium of Marvelous Wonders, come to refresh their purses.  But, as the population mysteriously begins to dwindle, Hiram realizes they may be more than they appear. 

A supernatural-western originally described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Deadwood, this work ably meets all those requirements, as the gifted Hiram gathers together a team of misfits and outcasts including Indians, Negros, and the former owner of the town hotel, now reduced to whoring to survive.  But, each of these brings their own special power to their mission, reinforcing the talents of the others as they learn to work in uneasy alliance.

Based in Mexico, artist Jose Luis Pescado’s artwork maintains a thrilling angularity to it, giving a unique flavor for what could have been a stale representation of a tired genre.  Instead, the design provides a nice off-kilter feeling to a world definitely out of balance.

Acting as colorist on the book, Salazar’s lush watercolors never detract from Pescados’s delicate artistic penciling.  His pallet of browns and blacks with occasional bursts of blues and whites, as the band descends deeper into their mystery only serves to accentuate the disparity not only between the light and dark worlds, but the different classes within the regular world, as well.

Salazar is currently mounting a Kickstarter campaign to fund the second story, and I look forward to seeing what tales he tells next in this rich and interesting world he’s created.

VERDICT:    FOUR Silver Bullets out of FIVE

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 December 2018 20:58

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