Jeff Parker and Erika Moen
Dark Horse Comics (September 2012)
When Erika posted last year that she was about ready to start her new comic project, Bucko, I quickly and eagerly signed up for the RSS feed to the comic. I didn’t need to read the description or even know what the plot was, all I needed to know was it was Erika Moen creating something new. The fact that she was working with Jeff Parker was just an added bonus.
All Rich “Bucko” Richardson wants is to finally get a job. And maybe get a chance to talk to that one cute girl he met at that party a few days ago. And maybe have a threesome (maybe) with said girl and her roommate (hey they offered.) But things hit a bit of a snag when case of alcohol-fueled diarrhea at his job interview leads him to discover a brutally murdered body! And be accused of murder! What’s a guy to do? Well with the help of the girl (Gypsy), Bucko might, just might, be able to solve the case and clear his name. Along the way they explore the wilds of Portland, Oregon and encounter steampunk Makers, Juggalos, meth girls, and more.
I really like the story that Jeff creates. He builds the characters and adventures carefully and in just a few short pages, so that we quickly understand who Bucko is and why we should be interested in following his adventure. Jeff also helps us answer the age old question of what would you do if you needed to use the bathroom and there was a dead body around (I mean seriously who hasn’t wondered that before?) Seriously though Jeff is able to make us feel like we’re part of the story and we want to know what happens to Bucko and he sets everything up so beautifully. I think one of my favorite scenes in the story though are those right at the beginning where Bucko has rushed to the job interview thinking he’s late and then realizes that it’s daylight savings time and he’s early. Because let’s be honest who hasn’t done this before? Jeff captures that feeling of sheer panic and “oh crap…I’m not really late now what?” moment really well. It’s those types of moments that really help draw the reader into the story.
For me Erika’s artwork is one of the best things about this comic. I’ve been a fan of hers for quite some time and her artwork really works well with the humor/edginess of the story. Her line work and character design in this comic really help bring the story to live, especially the character design. I really love the juggalette gang, they’re just such awesome characters, and they remind me a lot from the Jokers in the Batman Beyond cartoon. One of my favorite aspects of Erika’s work in this collection is that many of the panels, at least early on, are charactercentric, so the backgrounds are often demphasized and all of the focus is on the characters, which is where it needs to be. To me Erika’s art style is unique, I just can’t really think of anyone else that works in the same style/manner that she does, but if I had to pick someone her line work reminds me of Lucy Knisley’s or Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work.
If you’re looking for something that’s slightly different and off kilter, but a great story then Bucko is the comic that you need to read. Seriously go and buy the book when it comes out. You’ll get the comic, plus the forward, plus the introduction, plus the author’s/artist’s commentary as a bonus! You can’t beat that. Till then go and check out the webcomic. You won’t regret it. And I hear that Jeff and Erika are working on the sequel and I can’t wait to see what they do with him next. 4 out of 5 stars.