Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Comics Wednesday Week 18 - Random Acts of Violence

I like horror movies.  I like crime.  I like Jimmy Palmiotti.  Not sure how this book escaped my gaze when it was solicited in Previews a few months ago, but it did.  Had I not been following Mr. Palmiotti's appropriately titled blog, Listen To Jimmy, I would have missed it completely.  But I've been following along, catching the few preview pages here and there, and each time it was mentioned, I had to ask myself if I was going to plop down the requisite coin on the counter in order to make it mine.

So let me say from the almost start, Image comics made a fantastic decision in pricing this book at only $6.99.    Had it been more expensive, it would have been a tough choice.  But less than $7 for a full color 70ish page Prestige Format? Sold.

Random Acts of Violence is the blood soaked graphic novel where life imitates art as we follow the process involved with creating the ultimate horror comic book character.  Ezra and Todd, two comic book creators and best of friends, pool their money together to self publish their first creator owned comic, featuring their murderous creation, Slasherman.

The thin line between fact and fiction is shattered as they travel cross-country promoting their work and start running into seemingly unrelated car crashes and crime scenes.  Things quickly turn from bad to worse as they learn their work has inspired these horrific crime scenes...and that one of their biggest fans has their eyes on the boys themselves.

Now for some nitpicks. 

First, Random Acts of Violence is great title for an anthology of crime stories.  So good, that's what I was expecting, and now that I've heard it, want nothing more than to steal it.  Had I read the back cover, it would have been apparent this was not the case, but the $6.99 price blinded me.  So I was disappointed when I saw this was just one story.

Secondly, Slasherman?  That could be the worst title for a comic ever.  Sure, you know what your getting, but it sounds so 70's low-budget.  But supposedly, it's a great book.  At least that's what all the characters keep telling me.  And make no mistake, the opening six pages, which are "the book within the book" are good.  Good enough to get a printer to rush to a second printing, not so sure. 

Okay, done with the complaints now.

The meat of the story is enough to chew on.  It's interesting to watch two creators, both with distinct personalities, respond to the demands of their new found fame.  And never having been on a signing tour, I can only hope it's exactly as depicted.  I'm a fan of road trips, and who wouldn't love visiting multiple comic stores over a few days?  And that Mark Waid fanboy story must be passed around like herpes because I've heard it from at least three different creators, and yet it's still interesting each time.

The copycat killer, while not original at all, was given an interesting spin.  What was suppossed to be a "story pitch" turned into a massive typographical error/ reason to kill, and it really illustrates just how important a good editor can be.  If I ever have a contest on this site, you can be damn sure I'm going to triple check every word.

But the absolute best part of the book was the art by Giancarlo Caracuzzo and Paul Mounts. 

Caracuzzo, who has previously done work for Palmiotti and Gray on Jonah Hex and The Last Resort, channels a bit of Guy Davis, and absolutely nails each crime scene.  Mounts colors perfectly set the tone, with each setting receiving it's own atmospheric hues.   The only page that disappointed was actually one panel, where there was an obvious screen capture from Newsarama.

Random Acts of Violence earns a solid B, mostly because I love Grindhouse, and this would fit right in on a Saturday morning double feature.  Just keep Eli Roth away far from it.

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