Comicsphere: Stray Bullets 1&2 by David Lapham
The exploration of violence in these two volumes takes many twists and turns. The first volume struck me as being more grounded but both of them have a resonant emotional core that connects with the reader on a very visceral level. To say that something is filmic is over-used and perhaps misguided when it comes to comics, but using it as a shorthand that most people will understand I think it works to a degree here. I read to understand the human condition and I think the degree of appreciation that I have for a piece of art depends upon the amount of illumination it offers on that subject. These books never disappoint on that score. Every single character from foreground to background is well drawn and seems to say — there are no background characters. That seems a fitting attitude for a book called Stray Bullets where anyone might be a victim — anyone might be collateral damage; a world where everyone is innocent and therefore everyone is guilty: it obliterates such easy distinctions. The second volume contains more pieces that might be thought of as flights of fancy — things that throw the paint on the canvas in a slightly different way; that approach the question of what it is to be human from a different angle. You are never less than convinced that the worlds you are stepping into are real and that is some feat. A friend I lent these to handed them back saying they were “too real”, meaning the violence … I think that is a great recommendation. To believe that what occurs has consequence; that what happens is real. These are books you should read — they are books you should own.