http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0786016051/thethrillindetec59-1"> Johnny Wadd (comics)

Johnny Wadd

Created by Bob Chinn; adapted for comics by Tony Fleecs

Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here is a very surprising comic book.

First of all, despite the source material – a series of hardcore sex films from the 1970's directed by Bob Chinn and starring John Holmes – this comic contains no graphic sexual images. There is sex, and it's erotic, but there are no drawings of Holmes' legendary weapon, nor any actual full nudity shown.

Secondly, there is an actual, intelligent plot.

Thirdly, it's damned good.

Private investigator JOHNNY WADD is in Mexico looking for the wife of a traffic cop friend of his, who has been missing for six weeks, and may have been kidnapped. As Wadd makes inquiries around the small town of Ensenada, he inadvertently provokes a local drug dealer, and discovers that the truth about the woman's disappearance may not be quite what he was led to believe.

Frankly, this is a great little book. It's short – only 18 pages of story, and it's a POD product, so the price (ten bucks!) is way too high... but damn, it's a nice piece of work.

The story isn't 100% original – then, how many are? – and suffers a bit from the short page count, but Fleecs' dialogue is really strong. It's suitably hard-boiled and sounds quite natural. His storytelling is good, too, using the comics format well and playing to his artist's strengths masterfully.

And his artist has many strengths. The art by Dave Wachter is excellent, easily on par with most of the stuff being published by the big companies. Everything is well-drawn – characters, settings, props – and the storytelling is appropriately cinematic. The coloring by Narek Gevorgian complements his illustrations perfectly, setting the appropriate mood for this Mexican-based noir.

I recommend Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here with only a few reservations. One: the idea of using a porn film for the source is kinda weird, and considering how much new that Fleecs brought to it, I wonder if it might have worked better as an original creation, and two, the POD nature of the book, and its limited edition nature makes it a pretty steep investment for such a short story. Yes, the story's good and the art is great, but it's still too damned pricey. That's gonna cost them a Bullet.

Five out of Six Bullets.

COMICS

  • TELL THEM JOHNNY WADD IS HERE
    (2009, Terminal Press)
    Written by Tony Fleecs
    Art by Dave Wachter

This review, by Christopher Mills, originally appeared in his great comics blog, Guns in the Gutter. Reprinted with permission of the author.


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