October 6, 2006

Halloween Comes Early This Year

So I'm browsing in my local library, and I come across the Tales of Supernatural Law trade paperback. After checking it out, I read it several times, and I have a question for the comics blogosphere. Yeah, I mean you. And you. And especially you.

Why has no one told me how good this book is? (With apologies and royalties to Greg)

This book is a reprint of the earliest stories of Wolff & Byrd, two lawyers who deal with the "macabre". Clients include a couple dealing with the magical return of their dog through a monkey's paw; a swamp-based creature who dangerously defies copyright law; a model suing her agent who used supernatural means to...but that would be telling. This is, however, one of the more naturally humorous books I've read in awhile.

There's a freshness here that I haven't seen in awhile - a slightly off-kilter sense of humor (which I suspect may have had an influence on Boston Legal) balanced by a slightly cartoony art style. (For a series like this, anything else would jar horribly, pun fully intended). The way certain stories are told range from cleverly-titled to mimicing key styles (For example, a "Tales From the Crypt"-esque host's story is presented as an EC-style comic). It's not the second coming of Will Eisner, but is an entertaining, very pleasant package.

What's also refreshing are the lead characters, Wolff & Byrd - you would expect to see semi-cliches (pudgy guy partnered with attractive woman), but the obvious cliches are not met - they are "just friends" (and no romantic tension is present, although I haven't read the later trades). Their secretary, Mavis, is more than just a gal-for-hire.,and is given her own little mini-saga. (A Tales From the Crypt style host's tale is told EC-Style). In a world of scantily-clad-in-spandex uberwomen, this book's handling of relationships is refreshing, and is not quite as soap operatic as one might expect.

All in all, a great Halloween night's read.

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