I get a lot of requests to recommend books outside of Marvel and DC as well as books that feature good female characters. This week I have an answer to both. Oni is releasing the first issue of the second volume of Stumptown, a detective story with a female PI Dex Parios, and I highly recommend that you pick it up. Why?
1. It’s by Greg Rucka. I don’t think its a secret that I’m a huge fan of Rucka’s work and this title is no exception. If you’ve liked Rucka’s other stuff, you’ll enjoy this.
2. The character Dex Parios is complex and fully realized. I interviewed Rucka about the character last year when the trade of the first arc of Stumptown was released and we chatted a bit about the character.
3. The art is fantastic. Matthew Southworth brings Portland Oregon alive and offers up a female character that doesn’t look like other female characters in comics. That’s a good thing. (Click here to see a lovely portrait of Dex that Matthew drew for me._
4. It’s a detective story by someone who knows and loves detective stories. How much? his official bio includes this:
The best thing about USC was that he and his wife got to live in a house that he could pretend Philip Marlowe had visited. Probably to beat someone up.
5. It’s a great issue. Kelly and I will be doing a preview review of it today on “3 Chicks Review Comics” as well as speaking with the writer about the what to expect in this arc. (We also spoke to Rucka about some other things. You can imagine what they are. You’ll want to listen to this.)
If you haven’t picked up the first trade of Stumptown, I recommend you do. You can order it here. You don’t need it to jump on this arc but it will certainly enhance your reading. Additionally, it was one of the best trades of 2011.
Like many others, I thought Greg Rucka’s Stumptown was one of the best comics of 2010. The four issue series (which began in 2009) follows Portland, Oregon detective Dex Parios as she searches for a missing teenage girl to settle a gambling debt. Dex is a down on her luck (or is she?) PI who struggles with her taste for gambling and being a good caretaker for her mentally-challenged brother.
Dex is quite simply a great character. She’s both tough and compassionate. She’s full of self-doubt one moment and bravado the next. And she never shies away from a fight. The book is filled, as you can imagine, with snappy dialogue and twisty plot turns via the talented Mr. Rucka. But the book is also a visual stunner with rich, atmospheric art by Matthew Southworth. He provides incredible attention to detail, stunning perspectives and a use of color which enhances Rucka’s script.
The trade came out last week and Greg was kind enough to answer some questions about the book and the lead character, what’s next for Dex and how some of his other female characters might interact with her.
Friday was absolutely crazy at NYCC, I couldn’t even tell you how long the line was to get in as it snaked over over two floors, twice, and through a room which was the size of an empty warehouse. And once in side it was wall to wall people. But I was lucky enough to speak to a few nice folks and get a few sketches. I’ll have more to post today and tomorrow.
I finally got to meet Gail Simone. I think you know the admiration I have for Gail as a creator so it was a thrill to meet her in person. She and her husband are both incredibly nice.
I chatted with Jamal Igle, who as it is now known is, sadly, leaving Supergirl along with Sterling Gates. Jamal says there is something exciting coming for him soon. I hope so both he and Sterling Gates, who is also moving on, were instrumental in my caring about Supergirl and the book under their hands was fun. Bernard Chang and Nick Spencer, who will be replacing Sterling and Jamal, are also a great team.
I’ve written before about the great artist Ramona Fradon who should just be declared a national treasure as far as DC Women are concerned. I got a chance to meet her yesterday and here is a lovely sketch of Babs as Batgirl she drew for me:
I’ve mentioned in the past how much I love Greg Rucka’s Stumptown, which if you aren’t reading, why? It’s a crime mystery set in Portland, Oregon featuring the absolutely kick-ass character Dex Parios, a private eye facing some money troubles. She shares many of the attributes of other Rucka female characters - she’s brave, smart and tough - but she I think she’s the most down to earth of his stable of female characters. I met the series’ artist Matthew Southworth yesterday and he told me that there is another arc in the works for the series. Rucka and and he make a great team - Southworth’s art gives the book its film noir feel and his backgrounds are incredibly realistic and detailed. Matthew was nice enough to do a “quick sketch” of Dex for me and as you can see it is so much more than that. What an absolutely gorgeous portrait and I love it even more because he gave Dex her black eye (go read the book).
With Greg Rucka leaving DC, Stumptown is his only comic. Issue 3 came out this week. The series lead, Dex Parios, kicks ass (but also gets her ass kicked). Good book, pick it up.