Me and my friend Whitney freaking love Hurley’s Heros, and so should you. It’s by far the most fun store in Joplin that doesn’t sell vibrators. If you love alternative comics, there’s no doubt that this is the place you should hit first.
As much as we love it, this store is probably bad for our financial health. You see, me and Whitney, we are whim purchasers. We can’t enter this store without buying something. Sometimes it doesn’t pan out so well (coughcoughJurassicParkRedemptioncough), but Hurley’s is so awesome that we rarely regret our impulse purchases.
Here are my top five trade paperbacks and graphic novels that I discovered at Hurley’s.
This is right up your alley if you like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, H.P. Lovecraft, or the mere thought of Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain fighting evil with steampunk mechs. For lo, that is the plot.
Also, this is of somewhat local interest, for Matt Fraction and Steven Saunders are from KC, Missouri. If you frequent Hurley’s enough, one day you may come across these gentlemen in an autographing mood. And Steven has a dope-ass mustache. You have to hunt him down and see it for yourself.
This was my first whim purchase at Hurley’s. It was on the bargain rack and I couldn’t understand why. Harlan Ellison? I don’t care how short and grumpy the man is, you don’t put him in the bargain rack!
So I promptly removed him from the bargain rack. With my money.
HEDCv1 (sounds like a viral strain if I put it that way) is an anthology of Ellison short stories adapted in comic form (doy) by various artists. They’re all introduced by Ellison, in a wraparound comic where he gives you a tour of his “dream corridor”. Most of the stories are of a speculative fiction bend, and they range from great to putrid to incomprehensible. Harlan doesn’t limit himself to just sci-fi though; one of the best tails (PUN DEFINITELY INTENDED) concerns a man who takes his revenge on a man with a rat phobia.
Along with the comic adaptations, there’s also some original stories given the text treatment for dessert. What? People still read stories that aren’t broken down into comic panels? How quaint!
3. Street Angel
This one kind of doesn’t count, since I had heard whispers of it on girlwonder.org beforehand, but cripes, I never expected to see a trade paperback of it on the shelf in Joplin. The finding and purchasing of this book all occurred in 2.3 milliseconds. It would’ve been 2.2 milliseconds if the Hurley at the desk didn’t drag his ass. DAMN YOU HURLEY *shakes fist*
Street Angel was a SLG series whose lifespan was inversely proportionally to its badassitude. It was about this 12 year old homeless girl who spent her time digging through dumpsters, skateboarding and destroying living beings with her flailing limbs. For you see, Jesse Sanchez is a world class martial artist. And she likes to kick hinders.
Some of the varieties of hinders that Jesse kicks in this book:
- Ninja hinders
- Mad scientist hinders
- Pirate hinders
- Satanist hinders
- Satan’s hinder
- Machinegun hick hinders
- Robot hinders
- Future self hinder
- Your hinder
I got this one last night, but I had been eyeing it for several weeks. Does it still count as a whim purchase if I take my time, ponder my options and make a conscious effort into making a wise purchase? Probably not. In fact it’s probably the mutually exclusive opposite tactic. Well tough. THIS IS MY BLOG AND WE’RE DOING IT MY WAY.
Beasts of Burden is your typical mystery-solving-paranormal-investigators-living-in-a-town-with-spooky-occurrences tale, crossed with a Don Bluth movie. For you see, the paranormal investigators in this tale aren’t humans or tormented human/monster halfbreeds, but neighborhood dogs and cats.
This is not like Ghostbusters, however, and it’s not for kids (unless you and your kids are cool and can handle such things). This comic has several outright gory moments, not to mention moments where you don’t see anything and it’s a helluva lot worse. Even worse for any child’s mind than gratuitous violence, the animals often use (gasp!) foul language. Even disregarding the superficial parental boogeymen of violence and obscenities, the book is more like Watership Down then Bugs Bunny. You will cry at least once while reading this book.
I just realized, I’ve been hawking comics while neglecting to mention the artwork of any of them. I should get on that. Ahem.
OH MY GOD THE ART IN THIS IS AMAZING. It’s all watercolor paintings by the amazing Jill Thompson (of Scary Godmother fame).
The only big drawback to this book is the abrupt ending. Hopefully, Mr. Dorkin and Ms. Thompson are following it up!
You know by now that I’m not a big fan of belief in the supernatural in real life. But damn howdy, do I love it in my comics!
Plot rehash: After covering a seance gone wrong, reporter Ella discovers that the womanizing jerk Mysterius is not only a real semi-ageless magician, but that she’s predestined to be the newest in a long line of assistants. A plot involving witches, hellish dimensions, a children’s book author, a cult figurehead, and all sorts of goofy stuff follows.
This book is freaking hilarious, the art is like stuff from MAD magazine (i.e., good), and the story and characters are all top notch.
Mysterius is especially great for those who are into stage magic (you hear that Joe?) as well as the plain old occult. A lot of characters in this book have real-life counterparts in the world of magic, such as David Blaine and Anton Levay. My favorite is John Darby, an obvious take on James Randi of the $1 Million Paranormal Challenge. Of course, in this book he’s a big, mean, unreasonable jerkass that all skeptics in supernatural fiction are. Reports tell me that James Randi is actually a swell, charming fellow. I hope I can confirm it for myself at this year’s Skepticon.