By Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth, Oni Press
My favourite thing about certain works of fiction is how effortless they seem, how they just hang together and work as this fully realized thing. Stumptown is a perfect example of a comic that just... is. Every aspect of the comic, every writing and art decision, just perfectly fills its niche. As a result, Stumptown Vol. 1 is just filled with moment after moment of "of course it is". It's kind of spectacular. Stumptown: The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo (But Left Her Mini) collects the first story of Portland-based, down-on-her-luck private investigator Dexedrine Parios. In return for forgiveness of a gambling debt, Dex is tasked with finding the wayward granddaughter of the Casino’s Chief. What follows is a lean detective story with plenty of excitement, suspense, and detecting. It’s a superbly crafted comic with taught, economic writing that manages to build a pretty remarkable world while maintaining its focus, coupled to artwork that manages to capture this perfectly balanced drab-gritty atmosphere. But the thing about Stumptown that really makes it sing for me, beyond all of its seamless craftsmanship and danger, is its charm. Stumptown Volume 1 is just permeated with this unpretentious charm that makes it a joy to read. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Stumptown has heart. Actually, I'm trying to say that Stumptown is one of the most enjoyable comics experiences I've had. Like, I-don't-understand-why-everyone-isn't-name-dropping-this-comic-always enjoyable. If you haven’t read Stumptown Vol. 1… just, go read it. Seriously.
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