I got hooked on David Lapham's crime noir series Stray Bullets the first time I picked up one of the original trade paperback collections. I kept picking them up periodically, but it was a long time before I got to read Vol. 1, and I never found a copy of Vol. 7. The original trades ended with Vol. 8 (at issue #32), which left issues #33-40 uncollected. Not only that, but issue #41, which ended the original run of the series, was delayed when the entire series went on hiatus.
The Über Alles Edition, which collects all of the issues from #1 - 41, fills in all the gaps. I was about to read the issues I missed, but realized that I had read some of the earlier collections out of order--and it had been a long time since I read the last one. So I'm starting from the beginning, and thought it might be interesting to record my impressions as I went.
Oh, nice! I'd never heard that joke -- the first time I heard the knife/gun fight reference was Untouchables.
Just read issue 18, "Sex and Violence Part 2" -- an Amy Racecar story that's Virginia Applejack's reaction to the her getting trapped in the suburban kink house in "Sex & Violence Part 1." It slowly shifts from a straight-up Chandler pastiche to a sendup of the private eye genre as a whole, with a ludicrously byzantine plot (best illustrated by a driving scene in which she recaps the plot to her partner, and her overstuffed word balloons pretty much push the art off the page), and ends in with a secret plot behind the plot -- all the sex behind the violence.
I read the next couple of issues (2 and 3) a few nights ago, but never reported. While there isn't much new to say, I thought they both followed the very horrific sad parts of humanity in the same distorted paths that their lives were already very likely to take. I will have more words for the next issue or two, but I wanted to chime in that I hadn't strayed off of the Bullets path again.
Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses, Pt. 1 (collecting issues #1-8) has been solicited for May 2 release.
Good to know. The way I'm reading comics nowadays probably means that I'll wait for it to show up on Hoopla. I did order one of their new posters from them: I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spanish Scott to hang on my wall.
Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses, Pt. 2 (collecting issue #9-16) has been solicited for August 29 release.
Read Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses, Pt. 1 over the weekend. Just as you mentioned, Jeff, it fills in gaps in the original series. The biggest missing piece is the story of how Beth met Orson (although I remember a short version of that in the main series), and the plot they hatch that eventually finds them on the run. Kretchmeyer plays a major role in these issues, too, as Lonnie's assassin, Spanish Scott's henchman, and Beth's lover (and then Nina). I don't remember him in the original series, so I'm guessing his whole arc plays out in Sunshine & Roses. Stylistically it's as if the series had never stopped, which made it a very satisfying read--there was even an Amy Racecar issue. So far the issues have all been exactly 30 pages long, so they are paced like the earlier ones (but with maybe more discipline on the issue length, since there was leeway on the page count earlier). I have returned to the timeline site to help me fit these stories into chronological order.
So what did you think of the "new major character" I mentioned October of last year?
That's Kretchmeyer, right? As I mentioned in my summary, I don't remember him from the original series, so I'm guessing his whole story plays out in this series. He's a pretty slippery character. I do have some trouble believing that Beth would be attracted to him--she seems sharper than that--or that Scott would buy his explanation for why he wasn't Lonnie's killer.
Actually I was referring to Annie.
Annie? I don't remember much about her. I think my Hoopla copy is still checked out, so I'll look. So I must be mis-remembering not seeing Kretchmeyer before. Do you remember where he showed up in the original series?
Never mind, answered my own question. The Stray Bullets Timeline Wikia actually has a search function! Apparently Kretchmeyer made a brief appearance in SB #7, and in Killers #7-8. So my memory is officially, uh, not great.