Wednesday, May 21, 2008


If you still think comics are all about capes, masks and superpowers I urge you to check out Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera's series Scalped, published by DC Vertigo.

Scalped is the story of Dash Bad Horse, the violent son of Lakota activist who returns to his birthplace after being away many years: The Rez. After getting drunk and generally fucking shit up around town, the owner of the new casino (and practically everything legal and illegal on the reservation), Chief Red Crow, gives him a job on his extremely corrupt tribal police force. From there we soon learn that Bad Horse is actually working with the FBI to bring down Red Crow from the inside, but even then nothing is what it seems.

Aaron's storytelling is what comics should strive for. His plot moves swiftly and opens up a world seldom seen in any form: the modern Indian Reservation. Guera depicts this world with drawings so gritty that sometimes you can't even look at the despair plastered across the page. But Aaron's down and dirty story keeps you trucking on through the nastiness with his vulgar dialogue, graphic violence and sex, and a constantly twisting (yet seemingly authentic) plot. There are meth labs, racist cops, corrupt cops, evil Hmong gangsters, murdered kids, torture scenes, police brutality, shootouts, bloody brawls, and even a crazy Indian on a horse. This stuff goes all the way and doesn't look back.

When I bought issue 17 this morning at St. Paul's greatest comic store The Source, the guy behind the counter said of friend his had reccomended it to him, calling it "The Sopranos on an Indian Reservation." That works just fine for me.

Right now there are two trade paperbacks - Indian Country and Casino Boogie - available along with the issues. 17 marks the end of the latest storyline.

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