Every day this month I'm going to feature a current comic book writing "star," someone who I think is a very good writer.
I'm mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Warren Ellis?
Here's a nifty writing duo who created one of the more impressive new titles of the past five years.
Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca are the co-creators and writers of Street Angel, an excellent series that originally came out from Slave Labor Graphics.
The book stars Jesse Sanchez, who is the "Street Angel" of the title. In each issue, we are given a description of Jesse - she is a “daughter of justice who fights evil, nepotism, ninjas, and hunger.” Essentially, she is a homeless orphan living in the world’s worst ghetto who uses her skateboarding skills and martial artistry to fight bad guys.
Rugg and Maruca have created a brilliant comedic world with Street Angel populated with bizarre and often hilarious characters, like the former Blaxploitation superhero, Afrodisiac or CosMick, the first Irish astronaut (who speaks Australian, because it was determined that Australian was considered the friendliest language in case he encountered aliens). Jesse's sidekick, of sorts, is Bald Eagle, a legless one-armed homeless man who gets around on a skateboard.
A common foil in the book are ninjas, who are everywhere - they even have their own clubhouse (and old firehouse with the "fire" crossed out and "ninja" written in).
One of the joys of the book is how straightforward Rugg and Maruca deliver these absolutely bizarre concepts, which only adds to the hilarity!
Along the way, though, Rugg and Maruca deliver an out-of-nowhere completely straightforward take on what it actually is like for Jesse as a homeless teenager that is absolutely heartrending. Rugg and Maruca are amazing in the way they actually manage to work this drastically different tone into the series without it really being all that jarring. That's probably been their most impressive issue of the original five-book series.
Since then, Rugg and Maruca have done a few stories here and there, always delivering their post-modern look at classic comic book ideas (like ninjas or adventure comics) without actually MOCKING the classic comic book ideas.
This past year, Street Angel made her return in the pages of AdHouse's Superior Showcase #3! Here's hoping we see more from Rugg and Maruca in the future!
(As an aside, Rugg is also a fabulous artist).