Created by Greg Rucka
"I don't suppose we can talk about this?"
-- Dex tries tocharm two thugs who've driven
All DEX PARIOS, the sole operative of Portland's Stumptown Investigations, has to worry about is her gambling jones, the 18 large she owes the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast Casino), tracking down the messed-up granddaughter of the casino's manager and taking care of her kid brother Ansel, who has Down's Syndrome.
And -- oh yeah -- being shot point blank in the chest by two mouthbreathers-for-hire who’ve warned her off of her latest case.
And that’s just in the first few pages of Stumptown (2009-10), Greg Rucka's twisty, turny four-part comic book mini-series which bears the unwieldy sub-title of "The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo But Left Her Mini."
It’s about time the recent glut of first-class high-faluting graphic novels focusing on crime fiction finally tricked down to the comic book spinner rack. And Stumptown was well worth the wait by 2009, it was a four-color treat for anyone who’d despaired of ever seeing an honest-to-God P.I. in a regular (or as regular as small comic book press runs go) comic book again. There are no muscle-bound dudes in tights here; no silicone-fed Amazons fighting crime in G-strings and high heels, no time-traveling evil entities from the 8th dimension, no scratch-and-sniff foil covers just good old dirt-under the fingernails hard-boiled grit set in a world as real as morning breath.
Recalling such classic no-nonsense latter-day private janes as Max Allan Collins’ Ms. Tree, Brian Bendis’ Jinx Alameda and Ed “Criminal” Brubaker’s late, lamented all-too-brief take on Dakota North in the pages of Daredevil, Rucka’s Dex is nobody’s bimbo. She’s a blue collar smart ass and certified tough cookie whose “up yours” take on life, tattered professionalism and rough-edged compassion make her one of comicdom’s (and the genre's) most compelling female characters of recent years.
She's loyal to a fault, fiercely protective of her friends and especially Ansel, her kid brother. She drives a '64 Mustang and likes her Jack "rocks, water back."
And artist Matthew Southworth’s moody, cinemagraphic depiction of Portland is a wonder to behold, all blotchy shadows, telling details and under-the-fingernails grit. Greg Rucka, of course, is the Eisner Award-winning comic writer and crime novelist who writes the Atticus Kodiak books. In fact, Dex inhabit the same fictional universe as Kodiak, with several minor characters occasionally popping up.
Although it didn't exactly set the world on fire, it did get some pretty decent reviews, and so in 2012, Dex returned in another story arc, this one bearing a slightly less long-winded subtitle: "The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case," again with Southworth handling the art chores. If anything, it was even better...
A rare early story
Includes "Mustang Ranch," a rare early short story
Pacific Northwest Eyes.
Lady Eyes from the Comics
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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