Month of African-American Comics: The Zoo Act

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. Check out the archive to see what books have been spotlighted so far.

I'm awfully sorry, I was traveling the last few days with my wife visiting her sister and our nephew (it is amazing how good video games are nowadays - this new Disney Infinity 2.0 is nuts - kids have it good!) and with the timeline change and a seven-year-old waking us up every day at 6am, I didn't have enough time to get these reviews done. But I'll catch up right now (I'm actually writing this on a plane - hooray for airplane WiFi!).

First up is Myron Macklin's graphic novel, The Zoo Act.

The easiest way to describe Myron Macklin's very good graphic novel, The Zoo Act, is that it is essentially a modern day take on the Parker novels, and more specifically, Darwyn Cooke's graphic novel adaptations of those novels. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I think that Cooke's adaptations are magnificent, so Macklin being similar to those is high praise.

The basic concept of this book is a con named Jerman (pronounced like germane, which leads to a lot of puns) and his buddy pull a scam and they get busted. Jerman now needs to put together $15,000 in one night or his buddy is dead (and he'll be next). This leads to him taking on a risky job from a mysterious fellow named Skittles.

Check out Macklin's Cooke-like use of negative space on these sample pages...

It's striking work.

As you might imagine, the job goes haywire in every way imaginable. The chaos almost gets to absurd extremes, but it all ties together really well.

I like the humanity of Jerman - he also reminds me of Parker in that sense. He's a crook, but he's as honest as you can get from a crook.

This is a tight, complex narrative that opens itself up for future stories while still having a real finality to it.

If you've enjoyed Darwyn Cooke's Parker books, you'll dig The Zoo Act.

You can buy a copy here. By the way, just this second I realized that it was put out by Ink Westlake, so I guess the Parker comparison goes further than I thought! :)

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