Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stagger Lee by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix

stagger lee by derek mcculloch and shepherd hendrix.

This year is off to a great start, comicswise. A great start. First The Arrival and now Stagger Lee.

In case you were as poorly educated as myself, Stagger Lee is a legendary American figure who killed a man over a hat. McCulloch did a heap of research into the origins of the legend and the thousand songs it spawned and put together this compelling fictionalized account that's part cultural history, part journey to old-timey St. Louis, part novel. It feels so true that the notes at the end that list the corrects and incorrects and whoknows are less believable --- it's hard to accept that this account is not a perfect reflection of life actual.

Meanwhile, the brown and brown illustrations of Shepherd Hendrix are great. I do have complaints (in extreme closeup, everyone looks the same, for instance), but generally, his work is great. And since the title character and the man he kills change race and bodytype with some regularity, it's impressive that it's so easy for me the reader to keep them straight.

art by shepherd hendrix

Stag Lee is always in scribbles and Billy wears crosshatch. Very nice.

In addition to the Stack-o-Lee story itself, the narrative weaves in a couple other songs that have their genesis in the era as well as some other interesting tales like that of Joseph Folk and Colonel Ed Butler.

Great read.

No comments: