Published: April 5th, 2011
Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Matthew Southworth, Lee Loughridge
Oni Press, 156 Pages
With Stumptown being adapted for television, I figured I’d also give the first graphic novel a read for comparison’s sake. I haven’t watched the show yet but I’ll probably binge the first half dozen episodes or so, once they’re available.
The comic series is a pretty good neo-noir in a similar vein to Ed Brubaker’s crime comics. In fact, Greg Rucka and Brubaker both worked on DC’s Gotham Central, which was a very noir-esque crime series featuring the cops of Gotham as the focal point.
This story follows a private investigator, as she is in debt over her head and more or less forced to find the missing granddaughter of a casino owner.
Stumpland takes place in and around Portland, Oregon, which gives it a cool setting that isn’t really a normal town for noir stories. In fact, I don’t really think about crime or Mexican cartels when I think of Portland but this actually takes you into that realm.
The main character, Dex, kind of reminds me of Jessica Jones or at least the television version of the character. Which, honestly, makes me wonder if they re-worked Jessica in the Netflix show to be more like this character?
I liked this tale but I also thought it was pretty predictable and more straightforward than a typical noir plot. There are the twists and turns, as one would expect, but none of them are really outside of the box or all that surprising.
What really made this work for me was the art. It’s pretty raw but the use of colors was superb. I guess the artists have changed over the course of the different Stumptown stories but I hope that the style is similar when I get to the later volumes.
Stumptown didn’t wow my socks off like Brubaker’s crime comics but it was still a cool and pretty refreshing story. And I plan on reading the volumes that come after this one.
Pairs well with: the later Stumptown series, as well as Gotham Central, Kill Or Be Killed, The Fade Out and Sin City.