Quick Hit: Gunning for Ramirez Act 1 by Nicolas Petrimaux

I have a small confession to make. I think I may have just read the best comic of the year from a creator whom I have never heard of before. 

Nicolas Petrimaux is his name. He is a new face to comics and his 2018 graphic novel, Gunning for Ramirez, is getting the translation treatment this week from Image Comics. Already a huge success in Europe after having won three awards as well as an accompaniment of numerous rounds of massively uplifting critical feedback, this will be a must-read here in the States. For fans of over-the-top crime thrillers with a knack for shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later Tarantino-type characters, I envision this fast-paced epic slow-burn to be on several year end best-of lists. 

Petrimaux wrote and drew this comic and the scenes depicted throughout it flow seamlessly from one setting to the next. Color palettes are muted when needed, bright when not, and his illustration style borrows from the likes of Gabriel Ba or Fabio Moon but with more attention to cartoon realism and less on abstract idealism. Billed as the first volume to an undisclosed amount of chapters, this graphic novel spends most of it’s time introducing and building on character while also wasting no time expanding on the world it is set. This story feels to be headed toward that fast-paced shoot-em-up or an epic television slow burn; either way it comes at us we’ll be sure to find ourselves on the other side of it a bloody and sweaty hot-mess. 

Gunning for Ramirez is loaded with fast cars, hot tempers and kick-ass facial hair.. oh, and one really badass vacuum cleaner. Nicolas Petrimaux tells the story of Jacques, a vacuum repairman working for ROBOTOP, a leading home appliance company in the southwest. Jacques is a seemingly mild-mannered, efficiently skilled repairman with a mustache that’d make Magnum P.I. cry himself to sleep on any given Tuesday. He immediately gets pinned down in the story as the one-time hitman, Ramirez, after members of one of the largest drug cartels in Paso del Rio spot him and assume him as such. Upon being spotted, and assumed as this Ramirez person, things eventually begin to unravel at rapid speed. Along the way we meet a pair of thieves, Dakota Smith and Chelsea Tyler, who may-or-may-not be linked to Jacques in some way other than just a midnight fantasy. Oh, there’s more. The president of ROBOTOP can’t stand Jacques but he also can’t run his business without him. One other thing, Jacques really doesn’t like people watching him from parked cars outside his house. Now, wrap that whole basic plot premise inside your head and then add to it that Jacques is mute. Yes, you heard correct. A ruthless once-upon-a-time maybe-hitman with a badass mustache is now finding personal refuge as a mute vacuum repairman in the smoldering southwest. Bookstores and comic shops alike have a sleeper hit on their hands and it would be in their better interest if they utilized the display shelf near the front door to house of few copies.

Whether or not the rise of the trade paperback and the demise of the floppy is in the proverbial rearview mirror, if this is what we have to look forward to as readers then I am here for it. Nicolas is one bad m-f’er telling a story wound so tight that he literally needed to inter-set his own commercial breaks within it so that we could all catch our breath, regroup and get ready for another sprint, full-speed, all over again. I’m telling you, this may get overlooked with some crowds, the one’s looking for the latest cape or cowl story, or the newest title from *insert-random-but-repetitive-indie-creator-name-here*, or the sword story.. you know, the one with swords. Whatever the latest craze is with the kids, if you find yourself near some when you head out this week for your stash of new releases give them a nudge (..masked up of course) and do like me; give an enthusiastic recommendation for picking up Nicolas Petrimaux’s Gunning for Ramirez, and I assure you that you’ll soon become the local expert you deserve to be for those must-reads everyone should know about. You’re welcome, and good luck.

Gunning for Ramirez Act One
Written and Drawn by Nicolas Petrimaux
Published by Image Comics