Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 40

Stray Bullets

by David Lapham
Genre notes: crime
ISBN: 1632152150 (Amazon)

There are a lot of crime comics out there. Some of them are even good. Some are even great. But better than them all, better than Criminal, better than West Coast Blues (even if only marginally), is Stray Bullets.

David Lapham is a madman and that comes through in his crime stories in spades. These are brutal, madcap, depraved stories of what happens when people slough off the rules that govern polite society (which was never that polite to begin with).

Lapham covers a lot of ground across his series. A lot of time and a lot of characters. But he comes back to two leads over and over again: Virginia Applejack and Beth. Virginia is the most compelling of the two figures for me so I'm going to recommend starting with Stray Bullets: Killers. That's not the beginning of the series.

Lapham started Stray Bullets in the '90s and put out 40 chapters of the series before it became unsustainable work. There wasn't a lot of money in indie comics then (there generally still isn't today). The whole entire first run of the series is collected in Stray Bullets: Uber Alles, a phonebook omnibus collection. Then a couple years back, Lapham teamed up with Image to release new stories, to pick up where he left off. The first volume of these new stories is Stray Bullets: Killers, and it picks up with Virginia at age 17 or so after a lifetime's worth of horror has dogged her steps. It's a good place to start and if you like it, you can go back and read the earlier story.

Think of it like watching the original Star Wars trilogy only to find that the prequel series is as good or better than the original. What a world that would've been, eh?

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