Stray Bullets: The Whole Shebang [Close Read]
September 25, 2015
CONTEXT: STRAY BULLETS has been around for a while—over forty issues, in fact. That may sound daunting, but here's the trick: each issue is meant to function on its own, and each arc does the same. The issues feed into one another, and you'll definitely get more out of it if you're fully experienced, but don't be shy. STRAY BULLETS is full of characters who will be instantly recognizable to you. You might not know their names right off the bat, but you'll understand who they are: a young woman willing to risk anything to win everything, a young man eager to prove that he's a grown man, a young girl stuck in a dangerous situation with nothing but her wits on her side, or a hulking brute who firmly believes that pain is an effective negotiation tactic. Whether you're getting your feet wet or diving into the deep end, you can trust STRAY BULLETS to give you exactly what you need to know.
SETTING: STRAY BULLETS: SUNSHINE AND ROSES is set in 1981, and features a mostly young cast. That means no cell phones, no internet, and not a lot of great decision-making. Characters often make choices that result in violence or trauma that then echoes throughout the rest of the story arc. By setting the story in the '80s, Lapham gives the series a very cool feel. It's recent enough to be modern, but not so recent that you have to watch the characters figure out how to beat high-tech surveillance, wiretaps, and laser-activated alarms. STRAY BULLETS is a stripped-down, straight-up crime comic. There are just the criminals, the victims, the innocent bystanders, and you, the reader, paying rapt attention.
VISUALS: Lapham is a great artist, and equally capable of depicting a great fight scene as he is at showing just how unhinged someone is just by way of a close-up on their face. The lettering counts, too. Pay attention to the way he makes the lettering dance around the page when things get really hectic, or the wobbly letters and balloons that show exactly how queasy someone is. STRAY BULLETS is the total package.
AMY RACECAR: It's important to breathe. STRAY BULLETS is funny, harrowing, grim, and exciting. The character of Amy Racecar is a big part of that. Who is she? Well, she's the person who met God, made it to the top of every wanted list ever, and flew a spaceship into the sun. Trust me—Amy Racecar is a breath of fresh air, but also a perfectly on-point aspect of STRAY BULLETS.
STRAY BULLETS: SUNSHINE AND ROSES #8 goes on sale 9/30. STRAY BULLETS: SUNSHINE AND ROSES #9 ships 10/21. STRAY BULLETS is available in a comprehensive paperback edition, as well as individual volumes that collect a single story arc. View the full catalog here, or start with the first volume, INNOCENCE OF NIHILISM, and go to town.