Southern Bastards is about being stubborn for the right reasons – and I almost missed out on an incredible story for all the wrong. Here’s my article on finding this book
I can be very stubborn much to my detriment. Sometimes I dig in and hold fast for no good reason other than I think I know what I don’t like and you can’t tell me otherwise. That’s Southern Bastards.
I read the solicitations. Southern town that lives and breathes based off their high school football team. No sir, not for me. You tried to get me to watch Friday Night Lights. Not interested. I didn’t watch high school football when I was in high school – why do I want to be force-fed your contrived drama now? I’ll pass.
Southern Bastards #1 was getting rave reviews. The owner of my local comic shop wouldn’t shut up about it. I knew he followed sports – this was a ploy to get me to care. I knew better. I wasn’t falling for this trap. I held the line, like the defense at the goal line – 4th down and one – or something like that.
I ignored the new Image Comics title from the two Jasons – Aaron and Latour – week two and three and four. I don’t want to read about football and the silly locals that live and die by what teenagers do on the field. Not interested. Until…
Southern Bastards #2 hit the stores. I saw that my local shop still had some number ones on the wall. I knew I wouldn’t like it, but since he had both issues maybe I should take a chance.If nothing else Jason Latour’s art was amazing to look at. Even if I’m reading Any Given Sunday, it’s great to look at.
Boy, was I an idiot – always thinking I know best.
Southern Bastards revolves around a town that finds its identity in their high school football team, the Runnin’ Rebs, but has much more to do about the bastards that live there and the one man who tried his damnedest to escape the small-town corruption. Earl Tubb thought he could come back to Craw County, Alabama to take care of a little business and leave but the injustice that he witnesses on the day that he returns (and that his father fought as sheriff way back when) makes Earl’s homecoming last a bit longer than he expected.
Sure there’s football insomuch as the Reb’s head coach, Euless Boss, is also the bastard that’s running the town. Townsfolk won’t cross him and the police take orders from him. The only one that will stand up to The Boss is the man that left the county over forty years ago; who’s too old to take on this battle; who’s got too much too lose to deal with such small-town BS. But Earl’s a good man, and dammit, Jason Aaron writes him so good that you just get sucked into to his drama.
I don’t root for sports teams, but I cheered for Earl. He threw the hail-mary pass and paid for it. The stray dog (who gets his day in issue 4) and I believed in Earl. The righteous have to win. But the end of the first arc of Southern Bastards rightfully named “Here Was A Man” may say otherwise. Can the ingrained, inbred, entrenched politics of a southern small town be overturned by an outsider? God, I hope so.
If you were as stubborn as me and looked the other way as Jason Aaron skillfully kicked off this southern-fried crime book and Jason Latour drew the hell out of the action and injustice, now’s your time to repent. All four issues of the first arc are out now and the always reasonably-priced Image trade ($9.99) hits shelves on October 14. This isn’t a story about football, it’s about justice and redemption and being someone who you never thought you could (or have to) be. It’s about being stubborn for the right reasons – and I almost missed out on an incredible story for all the wrong.RWG Approved: Southern BastardsRWG Approved is a new feature focusing on full runs of recent work. While our staff frequently covers first issues, it’s difficult at times to keep up with the sheer volume of comics published each week. Often we find ourselves revisiting completed story-arcs of work that we rated very early on and wishing we could say just a little bit more about the series as a whole. This column will take a second look at exceptional comics after they finish their first arc and provide a long-view perspective. Consider books here RWG APPROVED!