Fanboy Comics’ newest contributor, Jason Enright (@jasonenright), shares his thoughts on the new Reed Gunther trade paperback!
All Ages books are hard to come by these days. It’s even harder to find a book that kids will love, but that adults will find equally entertaining. Luckily, Reed Gunther and his trusty bear Sterling are here to save the day. Shane and Chris Houghton spin the tale of a loudmouthed cowboy, his loyal and much smarter mount Sterling the bear, and Starla, a machete-wielding cattle rancher with anger management issues. Reed thinks of himself as a problem solver, but he may really be more of a problem maker. But, Reed is the kind of guy who doesn’t give up, no matter what, and normally Sterling and Starla can get him out of a bind.
Our heroes inhabit a world full of giant snakes, subterranean turtle men, and historical zombies, so there’s always something exciting when you turn the page. Artist Chris Houghton renders these creatures and their world in a bright, cartoony style that keeps the monsters fun and the action silly, so that even young readers can enjoy the show. For the adults, writer Shane Houghton keeps the pace tight and the dialogue full of wit and charm. Their best work comes in the unique relationship between Reed and Sterling. Even in their darkest hour, these two will never give up on each other, and their loyalty and friendship always save the day. Chris’ art really shines here, because he manages to make the silent Sterling incredibly expressive, so you always know what’s on his mind.
They also deserve high praise for the direction they chose for Starla. It’s very refreshing to find a female lead who’s the loudest and often the most competent of all the main characters. Starla has a good head on her shoulders, and her no-nonsense attitude balances Reed’s impulsive heroism. She’s tough as nails, speaks her mind, and would be a good role model for any young female readers.
Reed Gunther is a monthly book published by Image Comics. The first five issues have been collected in a sturdy, well printed, 184-page trade paperback that retails for a very affordable $14.99 MSRP. There are two issues out following the trade that are each standalone stories that should still be available in stores. If your Favorite Local Comic Shop isn’t carrying Reed Gunther, then ask them to order the graphic novel from their comics distributor with Diamond code SEP110428.