5 from Below: Southern Fried Bastards
Welcome back! And if you haven’t checked out the previous entries I’ve made in this series, feel free to check them out. Or, you know, just stick here and read about this one; there’s no need to pressure you. In any case, this is a series of articles dedicated to providing you with some titles that you may have overlooked, and whereas I went with something offshore last time, I’m planning on bringing it back to the continental United States this time (you can thank me later, you rednecks). In this installment I’m going to talk about what I believe is a relatively underappreciated gem published by Image Comics, Jason Aaron and Jason Latour’s Southern Bastards.
Now, to be fair, this series has been very well-received by critics and fans alike, but I still don’t think it’s getting the attention it deserves in spite of all the praise it’s already received. Simply put, this is the kind of comic that demands a TV adaptation more than other titles out there (I’m looking at you, Kirkman’s Outcast). Well, that is exactly what you would expect from a writer of Jason Aaron’s caliber. Plus, Jason Latour’s art is just right for this kind of series. In fact, I wouldn’t think that the illustrator for this book and the guy who co-created one of the last couple of years’ most overrated spandex-clad characters – which had overly enthusiastic, bordering on naïve, readers shrilling about the future of comics and non-bathing nerds wetting their pants for some reason – are actually the same guy. That’s just how much Jason Latour shines when given a project outside the whole capes and tights fare. But hey, a man’s got to make ends, so I don’t hold it against them.
Going back to Southern Bastards, all I can say is that this is the kind of rare series that manages to keep things slow without making it sluggish. To tell you the truth, I completely agree with that one statement I read about the title, praising it: it’s Game of Thrones in the Deep South. In this immensely interesting, sometimes tragic, and occasionally brutal drama, readers are treated to numerous characters with each being as interesting as the other. And perhaps the best part of Southern Bastards is how unpredictable it can get.
Still, I have to be fair, so I’d have to say that all the sudden turns the series takes may only be for the time being, in that it’s going to take fewer and smaller risks as the series runs longer, which is not unlike what the Walking Dead is doing. Still, I’m hoping it doesn’t do that; it’s just too good to go that way. Regardless, though, Southern Bastards remains one of the series that I keep within my reading list, and it’s one that you should, too. Now, if you are going to pick this up, I highly recommend going with the trades or deluxe editions instead of hunting for single issues like a dumbass. Believe me when I say it’s better off reading it in those formats. But hey, maybe you are indeed a hick named Cletus who can’t help yourself, so do as you please.