$3.00 (and available on-line)
Script, Layouts, inks — by Mike Murphy
Script, pencils, coloring, lettering — by Celina Hernandez
A lot of independent comics these days look like marketing gimmicks. You get the feeling the creators are just throwing in stuff they think might look good on a Slurpee cup or as a Happy Meal toy. So when creators like Mike Murphy and Celina Hernandez create something as a amazing as Red Town, it’s a reason for celebration among those who like story-driven comics that have something to say.
Red Town is a series of inter-related stories occurring in Hedgewiisch — a place the residents call “Red Town” because a serial killer snuffed 40 people in 24 months. The killer was never captured.
And that’s just the sub-plot…all kinds of other interesting things happen that are dramatic, sad, sweet and even a bit surreal.
In the last few issues we’ve met Anna Walters, who used to be a movie star and lives in house full of furnished by hand-me-down dreams; her ex-husband Jacob Wazinski, who lives in a third-rate nursing home; Darrel, a nursing home attendant that may be Jacob’s only friend; Ben and Sarah, a couple of evicted junkies, and Jessica, a little girl who imagines her doll is eaten by a werewolf.
Examining the dark underbelly of small-town America was been done by many creative forces including David Lynch and William Burroughs. What makes Red Town so compelling is that it merges a complex and interesting story with art that looks deceptively simple.
All the foreshadowing, all the guessing about which — if any — of the characters may be the serial killer, all anxiety and strangeness, is complemented perfectly by the easy, graceful art that moves the plot along but never upstages the story.
This is “American manga” style art at its finest. Celina and Mike have created an appealing style that is easy to read, easy to follow, moody without being dark and shadowy — film noir under florescent lights.
And just when you thought lettering was a lost art in indie books, here we have crisp lettering that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story or bump against the art.
Like all good comics, each issue leaves you wanting more. You can relate to the lives of the various characters and identify with their quirks. I check the Red Town MySpace page frequently to see if there’s anything new.
After reading a few issues, so will you.