January 11, 2009

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Farewell, Georgia

Written by Ben Towle
Illustrated by Ben Towle
SLG

This was a grab at 2008's SPX, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Towle adapts four folktales (as the cover mentions) into short graphic stories in a style that reminds me of Rick Geary. (Though I should clarify that by that I mean in terms of his approach to telling the story, not in the artwork.)

First up is a legend told about the great (and often angry) baseball player, Ty Cobb. Challenged by a young punk to a match on the diamond, Cobb agrees--and the punk wishes he hadn't. Towle captures the anger within Cobb's aging frame brilliantly here in this short but fun tall tale. I particularly like the bit about the eyes.

Next up is an old Native American myth, that Towle updates to the present day. Two men see a pair of attractive women in a bar, who lead one of them on a magical journey to meet their brother. The man is thinking love, but gets..well, something else entirely. This story is probably just a bit too mystical to fit well within Towle's personal comic-looking style, but is still pretty creepy.

Third is a semi-true tale of a man who rode his goats to preach the gospel, travelling across the United States. It's the kind of thing you'd find in the Paradox Press books DC put out in the 90s.

Lastly is the very sily shaggy dog tale of the coon monkey. Towle pulls out all the stops in trying to make this one come across as silly, and he suceeds very well.

There's a brief origin for all 4 tales at the end, if you want to explore further. I have no need, these were good enough. Definitely worth reading if you can get ahold of a copy. "Farewell, Georgia" was nominated for an Eisner, and it's easy to see why. Great stuff.