Review: ‘Bayou’ Volume One
One of the first questions posed regarding digital comics is just how you make any money from a strip available for free. The usual answer is that the strip, if it’s any good, will find an audience who will then happily pay for a print compilation. That seems to be the model for DC Comics’ Zuda Comics as they released Bayou
, the first book collecting Jeremy Love’s charming southern serial.
Zuda has been a nice place to find some new talent or see familiar talent try new things. The interface is fairly dreadful but the content is a nice mixed bag, veering just a little too much on the traditional genres of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Few, though, use the genre as a jumping off point with the same affection and craft as Love’s feature. He called it “a southern fried odyssey”, set in 1933 Mississippi when the races were segregated. Two little girls, one white and one black, play as equals despite their parents’ views. When the white girl goes missing, Lee’s father is arrested for the crime and so begins the girl’s adventure.
Working with 1-4 panels per page (or screen), Love leisurely introduces us to the world of the Deep South and its players. Wisely, they are products of their time but not stereotypes or clichés. His simple art and lush color are wonders I these days of scritchy line art and oversaturated pages. Love knows how to tell a story from pacing to dialogue to art and color. No wonder the strip was lauded last month at the Glyph Comics Awards taking home five awards, including Best Writer, Best Artist and Story of the Year, Best Comic Strip, and his lead character, Lee Wagstaff, was declared Best Female Character.
The problem with the collection, though, is that at 160 pages we get only part of the story. Nothing is resolved and everything is left dangling, forcing you to wait for a second volume or more before we find out who these creatures living in the Bayou are and will Lee be fast enough to save her daddy from a lynching he does not deserve.
The book also lacks any sort of introductory material about the strip, Zuda or Love. All we get are a few sketches at the back to show the development, but even those pages are lacking context.
[[[Bayou]]] in print is a wonder to behold and comes recommended but be careful. Love’s work and the world he created are addictive and you will be left wanting much more.