All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. A quick note – since this month is so relatively short, I’ll be featuring an extra comic every week, for a total of 32 comics spotlighted! Here is a list of all the comics spotlighted so far!
Today we take a look at the first two issues of Ego Tripp, by writer Ross Thibodeaux and artist Kelly Williams.
Ego Tripp is a bit of a riff on Jack Cole’s classic Plastic Man comic. Tripp Fenton is your typical average thief when he and his partners in crime get caught up in a conspiracy while robbing a chemical factory at the same time that the factory owner was being murdered by the mysterious bad guys. The other bad guys show up and take fire on Tripp and his crew. Only one of Tripp’s crew gets away with the book that they just stole from the factor’s safe. In the ensuing shoot out, Tripp falls into a chemical vat after being shot. The mystery bad guys throw Tripp and his other dead comrades into a car and the car is tossed into the river.
Tripp, though, does not die that easily. He discovers that the bullets can be pulled out of his now rubbery skin and his face, well, as you can see for yourself, something is quite wrong with it…
A new member of Tripp’s gang was actually an undercover cop, which gives Tripp an idea…
So Tripp takes over the identity of the now-deceased O’Donnell so that he can eventually get to the bottom of what is going on…
It’s a fine premise and Thibodeaux makes the most of his post-war setting when O’Donnell is sent to Hollywood to bring in a young actress connected to the case. The 1950s in Hollywood is a fascinating time and Thibodeaux uses it to good effect, especially when Tripp must impersonate a famous 1950s actor to get close to the actress in question.
Williams has a really fun style that goes well with a book that embraces its oddness as a virtue (which it is). He also tells a story really well (I like the occasional rebus-esque panels he throws in to the mix, like the bit above where Tripp figures out how he got his powers).
Mixed into all of this is the chemical factory’s owner and his back story, which includes the aformentioned theft from the Nazis during the war. He was working on a silly putty-like substance and presumably that’s what led to Tripp’s powers.
Ego Tripp is a fun comic and you can enjoy it at your own leisure for FREE, as Thibodeaux has it up at his site as a free web comic. Check it out here.