Here’s a new one: a graphic novel/CD combination! I jumped at the chance to write this (these two) reviews of Spurs #1, so here goes.
Part 1 (of 3) – The Graphic Novel
Two words: Grit tee. Yep. Gritty. I find there is a continuum of innuendo and implication in media these days. Using movies as an example, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is at the “super simple” side of the spectrum, while some artsy movie of a guy climbing a ladder into the kingdom of Heaven as some kind of allegory (all in black and white, of course) would be at the other. Spurs is leaning towards the ladder to Heaven movie . . . I read it three times – not because I had to, but because I knew I would get a different understanding each time. So, don’t buy this book for your seven year old. It’s PERFECT for 18-20 year olds taking classes on film noir and philosophy.
What you need to know: it’s a Western. It’s got a supernatural side to it (ish), and it’s all about survival stories (and non-survival stories). It doesn’t end, so I imagine there is (a lot) to go . . . and I do intend to buy/read the rest as they come out. TJ Troy is the writer (and singer/drummer) in the band, and he writes the way a musician does: it’s not what the characters say, so much as what they don’t say. Listen to most songs (poetry to music), and he takes this style in the comic.
Anyway, the comic is about a small farming community about to undergo huge change, because a railroad is coming to down, connecting them to the world. The Railroad “Family” has some conflict in the town, and things start going wrong . . . Dramatically so. Feels a bit like a Western version of Twin Peaks at times.
Part 2 (of 3) – The Music
I don’t always love country . . . and this is country! That said, it is an incredible counterpoint to the comic. I read the comic (all 3 times) with the music playing, and I was (truly) transported. It’s a pretty cool thing. I was in a different time, experiencing different events. I think my mind just works differently when music is playing – and this music accompanied this comic like a big red wine accompanies a giant, bloody steak. Yum. Now, I’m hungry.
The music itself is old fashioned. Merle Haggard or Hank Williams-type music. The vocals are easy and catchy and range from simple country voice to similar to Crash Test Dummies. Would I listen to this music on my iPod? Actually, yeah – so it’s pretty good.
Part 3 (of 3) – The Whole Package
It’s good. That’s it. The CD/comic combo would do you well on a rainy Sunday . . . in a place where you could come back to it a few times to get the real feel. This is not a Marvel comic, so no bubble gum and no tightly wrapped story with no loose ends . . . but if you can handle a little adult and a little mature (I can only handle a little myself!), then I recommend this little CD/comic combo.
That’s my review, and I’m sticking to it.