Book Retort: TRIGGERMAN #1

[Written by Craig Johnson II]

I’m the kind of guy to both appreciate and scrutinize a book like new publishing imprint Hardcase‘s TRIGGERMAN off the bat. As a lifelong student of crime history, film noir and pulp, and someone who can easily differentiate the style and aesthetics of the 20s, 30s and 40s on sight, I’m instantly attracted to fare such as this straightforward tale and also quickly repelled by glaring inaccuracies and anachronisms. Thankfully Triggerman mostly nails its setting of 1932, the second to last year of the massively failed experiment that was Prohibition (although, the car our protagonist arrives in seems more of  a mid-late 30’s vintage, but no big deal).

As we open in the Arizona desert we are introduced to a mob hitman who has tracked a debtor to a desolate saloon in order to settle an account for employers back in Chicago (though its is not yet revealed, one would assume those employers are the mighty Capone Outfit, or some fictional facsimile thereof) After some machine gun ruckus our killer is outfitted with new moll, and given some backstory with a particularly lively flashback set in prison. This first issue’s simplicity is its strength, as it glides over its different settings with clarity and stark, believable dialogue. Though nothing terribly revolutionary for the genre is immediately apparent , I am indeed ready for another issue.

That would also be thanks in no small part to the artwork. The visuals denote the perfect combination of grime and elegance necessary to really convey the period and subject matter in its highest potency. As an illustrator working in this particular genre my hat is off. Asan illustrator for whom backgrounds can often admittedly be a chore, my hat is doubly off to the relish and detail given to every setting found here, particularly the ramshackle desert speakeasy in the opening sequence. Its truly beautiful stuff and you truly are peering into a breathing world when you read this comic.

Overall, TRIGGERMAN is a smooth read, with certain elements that give a sense of wilder times to come, and its undeniable quality also makes me curious about the other titles in this burgeoning line by Hardcase.


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[Editor’s Note:  This article’s writer (Craig Johnson II) is the creator of period-piece crime drama THE LEGEND OF PINKY.]

Created by Craig Johnson II

Created by Craig Johnson II

New York City, The Jazz age. 26 year old mob gunman Irving “Pinky” Horwitz lives for the nightlife, particularly uptown in Harlem among the “shvartzes.” Neglecting his job and constantly crossing the color line has his family and co-workers looking at him sideways, as the violent, whirlwind events of Fall 1928 look to alter the young hoodlum forever. Find out where he lands in writer/illustrator Craig Johnson II’s six-part series “The Legend Of Pinky” – available for pre-order from Jozu Comic Books.

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