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Stray Bullets Volume 1 Paperback – September 23, 1998

7 customer reviews

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Paperback, September 23, 1998
$10.99 $3.93

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This unforgettable epic of lowlife criminals in Baltimore in the 1980s pulls no punches. An obsessed junior gunsel in love with a corpse; an abused little girl who takes refuge in violent fantasies of robbing banks; a lonely woman who picks up a teenage boy; a hit man who looks like Jesus Christ—these are only a few of the indelible characters caught up in Lapham's ultra-violent saga. Jumping in time from 1977 to 1997, the seven stories in this book are interrelated in subtle ways. Joey, the murderous youth from the first story, appears in another piece, set 17 years earlier, as a boy walking in on his mother having sex with a random guy at a party. Ginny Applejack, in a sad tale of child abuse, is transmogrified into Amy Racecar, a nihilistic antiheroine who is Bonnie and Clyde rolled into one. Lapham's heartbreaking yet detached stories show how petty criminals delude themselves into thinking they're just one score away from leaving it all behind. But even the most sympathetic characters can't break free, like Led, a young punk who finds true love at a wild party and thinks nothing of robbing a liquor store when the party runs out of beer. Lapham's fluid, keenly observed art elevates even the melodramatic moments into stunning instants of shattering truths and savage consequences. (Mar.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Series: Stray Bullets (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: El Capitan Books; Gph edition (September 23, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965328031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965328036
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 6.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,194,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kauffinbauchser on May 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are no superheroes here. There's not really any heroes of any kind. The book is in simple black and white, but the characters are emotionally very grey. This collection introduces us to a world of dingy, low level criminals in Baltimore. Lapham avoids the obvious trappings of the genre. Instead of cruel criminals, who enjoy inflicting misery and pain, the cast of Stray Bullets seems to be in the business they're in to make a living. Instead of evil, these folks seem to be moral nihilists. I can't explain why, but these characters resonated with me, not just while I read, but for weeks after. One of the very best trades I've read ever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alt on January 20, 2015
Format: Paperback
The stories collected in Stray Bullets (a cool title despite a pretentious subtitle that is best ignored) are loosely related to each other. They are generally set in the early 1980s.

A flat tire in the middle of the night can cause all kinds of problems when you need to move a dead body to get at the spare. One thing leads to another and pretty soon there's a killing spree. It's hard to put the blame all on one person but the dim-witted guy would get most of it. The strange thing is (as you might guess from the title), "The Look of Love" turns out to be a very warped love story. "Victimology," about a little girl whose life changes for the worse after she witnesses a crime, is promising for awhile but leads to a ho-hum ending.

"The Party" is a cool story about a bunch of petty criminals who all seem to work for, and fear, a guy named Harry. They manage to mess up pretty much every crime they commit, causing generalized mayhem in the process. The ensemble cast is carefully developed. The story ends abruptly but it's engrossing. If it had an actual ending, it would make a good movie.

"Bonnie and Clyde" is a weak story of misdirection that, at least initially, appears to be about a child molester. The art is great; the story falls flat.

A much better story is "Backin Up the Truck," about a boy, just turning 18, who meets a cougarish older woman at the same time he witnesses a guy being run over by a truck. All of those events come together to change his life. She throws him a birthday party and who should show up but ... the same thugs from "The Party."

In the funniest story, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," a girl in a coma is hooked up to a Truth Machine and tells the truth about God which, of course, nobody wants to hear.
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Format: Paperback
With the demise of the absurdly moralistic comics code, it is now possible for the artists and writers to exhibit gore and the hopelessness of the lives of people. Child abuse, drug usage, sexual situations and brutal murder with the gore of splashing blood are all now legitimate topics for the pages of comic books.
This book is my first lengthy exposure to the new genre, where wicked people do wicked things to screw up their lives and the lives of others. There are a lot of people trying to survive and make something out of difficult situations. Love for others does peek its leveling head on occasion, but it is rare and not all that assertive. There are also times when you have sympathy for the people in the stories, the pathetic and hopeless nature of their lives is so sad.
My favorite story is the last one called "Bonnie and Clyde." It is a great story, you think you know exactly what the brutal end is going to be and then it takes a very surprising twist. In ordinary circumstances, it would be a good one, but in this case it is not and you feel very sorry for the young girl.
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Format: Paperback
'Stray Bullets, Vol. 1: Innocence of Nihilism' collects the first seven issues of the series from the mid 1990s by David Lapham. The art is great and the well written stories veer crazily out of control between morbid humor and outright violence. Ready?

The stories take place over a variety of years and a few of them are linked. From low lifes sent out to bury bodies, to an innocent young girl who's life is changed when she witnesses a murder. Things take place at a crazy party where a bright young man gets in with the wrong crowd. There is even a story about Amy Racecar, notorious bank robber and tall tale spinner.

The characters are memorable, even when they are less than savory. The art is black and white, but really good. I liked 'Murder Me Dead' for it's noir quality, and I like this one for it's similarities to the movie Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino. I think it's a fair comparison and a compliment to the author. Gritty and enjoyable.

I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Diamond Book Distributors, Image Comics and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this great graphic novel.
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