Updated: Jun 24
Writer: Jed McPherson Art: Chris Shehan
WHAT IS IT?
A one-shot crime comic about a deadbeat dad who tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter through the family business...armed robbery.
Though crime's a big genre, I'm having trouble thinking of popular media that merges crime and family that isn't an organized crime/mafia flick. Chris Shehan said "Hurt" by Johnny Cash matches the tone.
Readers, let me know if you've got a good movie or TV show analog for this!
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Mikey is what some people would call a Garbage Father. He was into armed robbery 20 years ago when his daughter was a baby, and he doesn't have much trouble getting back into it now.
And by "now," we're talking the day his daughter reaches out to him. He hasn't seen her in who-knows-how-long, but she's got a job for him. So, he figures he'd help. Maybe it's for the money. Maybe it's to make amends. Maybe he just feels like it's a way to have something in common with his kid now that she's old enough to share this world with him. But he says OK. He was a terrible dad to a baby daughter. This could be a second chance to at least be a part of her life now that she's grown.
You're gonna have to read it to see how that works out for him.
The writing is tight -- nothing feels wasted or unnecessary or forced
You can tell McPherson knows and loves the crime genre -- he's a natural at writing for it
The plot is well-balanced between present and past, action and exposition
The characters feel real and natural, and the plot, while familiar, also feels like it's doing something new and different, too
Shehan's gritty art is a perfect fit not only for the genre, but for the story itself
The comic is pay-what-you-want, so you can get it for free if you don't want to pull an armed robbery to pay for it
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Cursing, violence & crime means it's not for all ages (I cut the cusses in the image below because I like to keep my site accessible for younger audiences, if possible)
No color if that sort of thing bothers you, but I don't think you'll miss it in here
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Deadbeat is no slouch. One-shots are hard. Hard to tell a compelling story. Hard to make you care about the characters. Hard to do something new and different. All in 20-ish pages. McPherson & Shehan make it look easy. I don't even like the crime genre and I loved Deadbeat. Because it's about more than crime. It's about family, the weight of the choices we make, and the things that really matter to us.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Retirement by Jed McPherson & Anna Wieszczyk
Stray Bullets by David Lapham
Coward: Criminal, Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
If you like the art:
Bank by Jed McPherson & Chris Shehan
Prometheus by Ryan Little & Chris Shehan
Whiteout by Greg Rucka & Steve Lieber
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Jed McPherson – Writer & Letterer
On the Rise: He's been publishing comics in the small press for awhile, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing more and more from him in the years to come
Inspired by the works of Elmore Leonard, Ed Brubaker and Warren Ellis
Chris Shehan – Illustrator
Has a nice bio video up on DowntownElPaso.com
As of 2016, he was able to focus on being an artist for comics full-time
His style is often characterized as gritty, dark & noir
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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A lot of the facts in this review used an interview with the creators as reference over at ComicBookAndMovieReviews.com.
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Jed McPherson & Chris Shehan characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Jed McPherson & Chris Shehan or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.