The Comic Queen

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Smoke and Guns GN Review

Smoke and Guns
AiT/Planet Lar; $12.95
Writer: Kirsten Baldock; Artist: Fabio Moon

"Smoke and Guns," a foray into the world of cigarette girl gangs, reminded me of "The Big Lebowski" in many ways. The Cohen brothers’ production borrowed heavily from detective movies – exaggerating the nonsensical conventions of the old films, while Baldock and Moon take their graphic novel down a decidedly noir path.

Both "The Big Lebowski" and "Smoke and Guns" have loosely coherent plots, instead their charm comes with the combination of unforgettable characters and bits of dialogue … of course, "The Big Lebowski" didn’t have sexy cigarette girls, so perhaps "Smoke and Guns" has an advantage.

This graphic novel is a day-in-the-wild-life of Scarlett, a cigarette girl in District 5 in a town defined by its cigarette girl gangs. Scarlett and friend Annie manage to start an all-out cigarette girl gang war mostly not on purpose. There’s no conscience, no principle, it’s just business as far as they're concerned.

This is Baldock’s first GN and Fabio Moon is a relatively unknown talent in the U.S. Both “new” creators worked together to craft a satisfying book, and both clearly have talent oozing out of their pores. Moon’s art is especially memorable with both beautiful still work and action sequences. There’s movement and feeling in every line, each frame brimming with sultry emotion. (Well, except for James Sime’s cameo … sorry not-so-sultry, but definitely charming, James.)

"Smoke and Guns" is an especially guilty pleasure, taking some violent turns in its journey. If you have enjoyed other “action” comics from AiT/Planet Lar, though, you’ll want to check this book out as well. The art alone will knock you out.

Bottom Line: A-
(click on images for a better look)


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