CUDDLES

Writer/Letterer: Jed McPherson

Illustrator: Marco Perugini

Colorist: Shan Bennion

Publisher: Self-Published

Cuddles: a last chance crime story, Cover by Marco Perugini and Shan Bennion

WHAT IS IT?

A crime drama about a mob enforcer's attempt to finally do the right thing after a lifetime of criminal activity.


Cuddles is a blend of Pulp Fiction's banter mixed with the hard-hitting crime drama of GoodFellas.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

"Cuddles" Nelson is an enforcer for the Turk's notorious crime family, driving around with his inexperienced partner, Jacko, on collection assignments, strong-arming money from delinquent gamblers. One day, Cuddles is brought into the Turk's office with a new assignment; someone has been skimming money from their collections, and all of the evidence points to her son, Jacko, as the culprit.


With a simple mandate of "treat him like a thief," Cuddles' actions set into motion a series of events that force him to reflect on his actions and put himself in the crosshairs of the FBI as well as his own crime family. Will Cuddles have mercy on Jacko? Is it ever too late to do the right thing?


WHAT WORKS?

  • Jed McPherson's dialogue is wonderfully conversational without being overly indulgent. The interactions with Cuddles and Jacko are the clear highlight, coming across as two coworkers who bust each other's chops any chance they get.

  • Marco Perugini's page layouts are effective with clear storytelling and panel progression. He makes it look so effortless, when it's actually anything but.

  • Shan Bennion's color choice is impeccable. The daytime scenes have a brightness and warmth to them which contrast well against the violence in those sequences, while the interior setting of a bar gives off a neo-noir vibe with their choice of purples and blues. Their style pairs together brilliantly with Marco's artwork.

  • Jed's lettering is expressive, conveying as much personality as the story's leads.

  • The character acting Marco brings to his artwork deserves special mention. He excels when given silent panels to convey a character's hesitation, frustration, or anything they're feeling in a given panel.

  • Cuddles is a strong sympathetic lead, which is quite the feat considering the profession he's in. Jed conveys him as a man of principle and someone who takes no pleasure in hurting someone but will resort to it if he deems it necessary.

  • Jed's inclusion of chapter titles adds further intrigue to the start of each scene and is always fun to see in a crime comic.

  • Making Cuddles an extended one-shot was the right decision, allowing the characters and artwork to come to life more than a standard 20 to 22-page comic would have allowed.

  • The conclusion is a fitting close to Cuddles' character arc. Endings can often be the trickiest thing to land in fiction and the final beat the creative team left us with ensured they ended things on a high note.

  • The bonus prose story is an entertaining read in its own right, further fleshing out one of the story's side characters and the world of Cuddles. Adding a mini-prose story into a crime comic was an inspired choice.


WHAT DOESN’T WORK?

  • Content Warning: This book contains violence against people and plastic flamingos, as well as harsh language.

  • There is one fight scene that feels a little over the top in comparison to the rest of the story.

  • Minor spoiler: The moment where the Turk turns on Cuddles is a little rushed. Having her attempt to call Cuddles in one additional scene could have helped convey more of a passage of time between scenes.


Cuddles: a last chance crime story, Interior Page by Marco Perugini and Shan Bennion

WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

Cuddles is a thoroughly entertaining crime comic from an incredible group of creators who should without a doubt be on your radar. The witty banter between Cuddles and Jacko serves as an effective way to sympathize with two characters who could easily come across as unlikeable under a different pen.


Excellent character work from Jed, Marco's killer character expressions, and Shan's vibrant color palette more than make up for any minor issues in this one-shot. There's clear chemistry between the creative team that explodes onto the page, easily making this a must-read comic for fans of the crime genre.


WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Transmissions by Jed McPherson, Marco Perugini, Shannon Bennion, and Neil Gibson

  • Pearl (Series) by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, and Joshua Reed

  • Criminal (Series) by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips


If you like the art:

  • Transmissions by Jed McPherson, Marco Perugini, Shannon Bennion, and Neil Gibson

  • Mugshots By Jordan Thomas, Chris Matthews, and LetterSquids

  • Bog Bodies by Declan Shalvey, Gavin Fullerton, and Rebecca Nalty


ABOUT THE CREATORS


Jed McPherson (@jedmcpherson) – Writer & Letterer

  • Contest Finalist: Jed was the runner-up for Top Cow's Talent Hunt in 2013 with his short story Working Late being published in Witchblade Casefiles #1.

  • Crime Aficionado: Jed is a huge fan of the crime genre with television shows Justified and The Wire, and Novels The Getaway, Elmore Leonard Novels and Charles Willeford's Hoke Moseley books, ranking as some of his favorite stories outside of comics.


Marco Perugini (@marcoperugini78) – Illustrator

  • Outlander: Hails from Italy.

  • Marco has also been published through Scout Comics, Heavy Metal, Sergio Bonelli, and Evoluzione Publishing.


Shan Bennion (@anonbeadraws) – Colorist

  • Outlander: Shan is currently based in England.

  • Multitalented: Not only is Shan a talented color artist, but they're also a talented illustrator.


HOW DO I BUY IT?

Click one of these:

Currently, Cuddles is not available on any platforms, but stay tuned to Jed McPherson's Twitter for updates on its availability.


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, Marco Perugini, and Shan Bennion characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Jed McPherson, Marco Perugini, and Shan Bennion. or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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