Archive for Jason Aaron

Southern Bastards #13

Posted in Comics with tags , , , , , , on 20/03/2016 by Kevin Entrekin

(listen: “Take it Easy“, by The Eagles)

Its Caucus time in the Kingdom of Fear at the time of typing this (who knows when this will get published, but it’s getting worse) and Fuhrer Trump and his minions are kicking a Black Lives Matter protester out of their Klan rally on television. They’re throwing punches and trash at the kid, which isn’t unusual for the crowd you see at El Comandante’s rallies. This is Phobos incarnate, broadcast to either the lust or disgust of the masses.

I went to the polls for Super Tuesday, a perfectly dreary and wet day in West Tennessee. No waiting in line as I entered a florescent-lit room in the back of a church with a lone Trump sign out front. I pushed the red button and cast my vote for Bernard Sanders. I thought for the first in my voting history, I’d feel satisfaction after voting. But I didn’t. I knew the state of Tennessee would go Trump and Clinton. My vote didn’t matter.

The pundits and media are already craving for Jefe Naranja and Clinton to gore each other with broken pool cues in the general election. They already have belts around their necks and hands down their pants waiting for each candidate to speak. Bernie is being discredited as a real threat in the aftermath of recent early voting, even with his numbers steadily rising and winning a few important states. He’s not out, but it’s not going to be clear until the ref raises the victors hand. Bernie is going to have to go the full twelve with the last jab thrown. Then its on to the title fight.

Why am I being so candid on politics? I don’t normally talk publicly about my opinions on this glorified soap opera, even though I like to keep my nose in it. People get irrational and violent when talking about politics, same with religion and guns. I avoid those toxic conversations.

Maybe because I actually believe in this candidate. The first politician that I don’t look at like all the other perverted, greedy politicians. Bernie gives the aurora of authenticity and being unsullied. He remains (presumably) uncorrupted or bought by the evil bastards and industries.

People say that about Trump as well, but that’s a lie; he’s malleable like Reagan. Pliable to the will and saccharine words of anyone who gives the front of being “intelligent”. That’s why Republicans love him so much. He’s a puppet for their bidding, and just the right sensual words whispered into his ears results in the carpet bombing of some far-away land or the holocaust of “undesirables”.

But what can you do, really? I guess just sit back with a cold Miller and watch the kids argue. Might as well enjoy it, especially for like-minded individuals who think Trump is a proper bastard. I’ll probably be black-bagged on the way to work one day by his newly instated SS division in a grandiose sting operation and shipped off to a black site in Kentucky run by Charles Graner and Lynndie England.

(Listen: Dead Flowers, by Townes Van Zandt)

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Southern Bastards, #13

Published by: Image Comics. $3.50 Print/$2.99 Digital. Story by Jason Aaron. Art by Jason Latour.

(Read: Jason Latour on The Charleston Terrorist Attack, the rebel flag, and the modern south, featured in issue 10).

As a southerner raised on Alabama football and Memphis BBQ, Southern Bastards is a work of art. It highlights what makes the south home, blemishes and beauty. There’s the humble hospitality of southerners, then the underlying sinister side of the governing individual law enforcement, a biblical eye-for-eye system.

The story is handled by a good ‘ole boy from Bama, Jason Aaron. The language in the pages of each issue he produces is authentic linguistics and mannerisms exhibited in the southland. To some, the characters probably seem exaggerated. And to an extent they are, but there’s a awful lot of truth in them as well. You meet people like this down here, good and nasty.

The south is also a land of underlying beauty with a seething slime of sinisterism just below the surface, which Jason Latour captures beautifully in his art. Both ragged and stunningly gorgeous, he includes little things that make the books an authentic southern experience. Even something as simple as background details and fashion choices of the residents of Craw County makes you fell the thick, humid heat and scent of roasted pig flesh in the air.

I guess I should take a moment here to advised this will be spoiler territory here on out. I don’t like to take something away from the potential reader of a book or viewer of a film, so I’m alerting you now: If you haven’t read this beautiful series or issue 13 yet and plan to, maybe come back at another time.

From the front cover, you know this issue is going to be different from the previous twelve. It has a blue color scheme, whereas the past issues have been red. Things are more tense than usual in Craw County with the rivalry game against Wetumpka finally here.

This is a turning point in the series: Craw County gets walloped in the game, and the biggest crack in the Coach Boss empire is now visible. He is vulnerable, especially when after the loss he finds the biggest player from Wetumpka and beats the crap out of him. And every enemy Coach Boss has ever made has taken notice that he’s weakened. The vultures are circling.

Aaron in previous issues has found a way of making you sympathize with the villain by looking back at what made him the villain in the first place. Does it excuse Coach Boss of his sins because of his past? No, but you do understand why he is who he is. Whereas Earl Tubb’s was the protagonist in a Walking Tall role during a the first arc of this series, Euless Boss has in turn become the protagonist. He’s a crooked man in jackpot, and there’s a hell of a lot of people trying to keep him from getting out of it.

Latour somehow makes Coach Boss look harder in this issue. His features are more cut, his face more skeletal and grisly. Overcast that with the gloomy weather ever-present in this issue, the entire atmosphere of this issue is suffocating. And with the reveal that Earl Tubb’s daughter is finally making her way to Craw County for Southern justice, things are bound to get even more tense.

How much longer can this series go on before it losses its steam? One or two more arcs? Fifteen to Fifty more issues before its sauce is too vinegary? I don’t know. Maybe we will venture outside of Craw County to keep the stories coming. I’m not sure, but I do know that I’ll be patiently waiting until the next issue comes out. Patience, after all, is a southern virtue. Though, it is hardly practiced anymore.

*Bought at Comics & Collectibles.