Wednesday, March 4, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: MURPHY'S FUBAR


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Damon Pellican
PENCILS: Damon Pellican
INKS: Damon Pellican and Tone Rodriguez
LETTERS: Angela Pellican
EDITOR: Angela Pellican with Tone Rodriguez and Kody Chamberlain
COVER ARTIST: Damon Pellican and Tone Rodriguez
8pp, B&W2-tone/Color, $4.99 U.S. (2019)

Murphy's Fubar created by Damon Pellican

“Incoming Fire Has The Right of Way”

Murphy's Fubar is a short comic book that contains the comics short story, “Incoming Fire Has The Right of Way.”  This comic is the work of Damon Pellican, a U.S. Army veteran and fledgling comic book creator.  “Incoming Fire Has The Right of Way” is written and drawn (pencils-inks) by Pellican and Tone Rodriguez (inks), and lettered by Angela Pellican, Damon's wife.

“Incoming Fire Has The Right of Way” comes to life at “Murphy's Fubar,” a bar that acts as an oasis for wayward souls, especially the souls of military veterans who have seen the darkest and bloodiest sides of war and of military combat.  “Murphy's Fubar” seems to be the last stop for lost souls, a place where they can find a way to resolve their physical and/or emotional wounds or die because of them.  The barkeep is Master Sgt. Murphy, whom Pellican describes as “a grizzly, battle-hardened vet.”  Mysterious and perhaps supernatural, Murphy may be connected to all of humanity's wars, from the first and oldest to the most recent conflicts.

“Incoming Fire Has The Right of Way” opens in 1998.  We meet a lost man living as low as a man could when a doorway appears before him.  His life literally leaking from him, he enters a bar where an equally grizzled bartender offers him a story.  Transported back thirty years to Vietnam, 1968, this desperate man will have to choose between the “hard road” or the “easy way out.”

I like the raw, unrefined nature of Damon Pellican's illustrations.  He is at the place where many young comic book artists find themselves, even the great ones, and that is how to grow by leaps and bounds.  A few years of intensive comic book drawing, and 1981 Matt Wagner becomes 1986 Matt Wagner (Mage) – almost two different artists.  Or Jim Lee:  from the end of his run on Alpha Flight (1987-88), through The Punisher War Journal (1989), he emerged on Uncanny X-Men (1990-91) and seemed like a totally different artist.

I see potential in Pellican as an artist, and that shows in this story through the inking of Tone Rodriguez, a longtime comic book artist.  I think the combination of the two makes the art for “Incoming Fire Has The Right of Way” look like Michael Golden's art on Marvel Comics' war comic book series, The 'Nam (issues #1-11, 13).  The cover art also is pretty dynamic.

Drawing skills aside, Pellican does some good graphical storytelling in “Incoming Fire Has The Right of Way.”  This is a powerful, brief, little tale that seems longer in terms of page length and bigger in terms of scope.  Pellican gets more out of eight pages than some of Marvel and DC Comics titles get out of 20 or 30 pages.

So I'm shocked.  I bought this first installment of Murphy's Fubar only to support a local comic book creator.  Frankly, I didn't expect much; instead, I found something I really liked.  With the best creators of American war comics mostly long gone, I look forward to another visit to Murphy's Fubar.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.


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