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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #324

Ladies and gentlemen– the best new comic of the 21st century. (Archive, baby.)

11/20/07

324. Street Angel

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Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s Street Angel is totally the best new comic I’ve read this millennium. And if you don’t believe me, well, hey, Grand Moff Cronin declared it to be good two years ago.

Street Angel is the story of one Jesse Sanchez, a young homeless girl who also happens to be the world’s greatest kicker of asses. Armed with her trusty skateboard, she battles the forces of evil, which happen to include ninjas, mad scientists, demons, conquistadors, robots, more ninjas, and poverty. Along the way, she teams up with or encounters Incan gods, Irish/Australian astronauts, time-traveling pirates, weresharks, retired blaxploitation heroes, and a legless, one-armed hobo buddy. Oh, right, and Jesus Christ himself.

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This book’s everything I want out of comics. In fact, I’m going to dig up the classic term “joycore” to describe it. Heck, remember when I talked about pop comics? Street Angel is a wonderful pop comic. It’s an explosive pop art masterpiece!

Honestly, Street Angel is capable of anything, from high-spirited, superbly wacky plots involving basketball-playing ninjas and/or mythological mix-ups, to a somber, realistic portrayal of what it’d be like to be a homeless pre-teen girl. Rugg and Maruca have a fantastic sense of humor which they bring to the page, be it through absurd situations or guffaw-inducing dialogue, but they also know how to tone it down when necessary. So, yeah, you can go from ludicrously violent ninja fights to a girl struggling to find some food, and not fall out of the world for a second.

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Jim Rugg’s art is also a huge selling point. Slick when it needs to be and crusty when it wants to be, Rugg’s slight shifts in style keep the visuals refreshing and sell both the crazy fun and the down-to-earth seriousness. He brings together sensibilities from all eras of comics. Aside from that, he’s also got an excellent sense of design, seen in his panel layout, figure placement, sound effects work, or general mise-en-page. The fifth issue, in particular, has a marvelous sequence of double splashes. Check this one out (try not to mind the spine crevice):

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Street Angel’s dripping with mad ideas, big action, and general badassery. You need to read it. It instills an almost unexplainable feeling of satisfaction: it’s just good comics.

Slave Labor has collected all five issues, as well as a few short stories and pin-ups and numerous other goodies into a splendid travel-sized paperback edition. Buy it now. You shan’t regret it, I promise you. If you need more convincing, visit the Street Angel website.

Jim Rugg has hinted at more Street Angel in the future. I look forward to more! In the meantime, though, I’ll enjoy his other great work. Booyah!

13 Comments

At this Fall’s TCAF, Jim Rugg was kind enough to show me (and, heck, let’s face it, probably any polite person with enough savvy to KNOW and ASK) some in-development pages for an in-development AFRODISIAC story. We shall, hopefully, see.

Well-chosen hyperbole, Bill! Your top-of-line promise had me worried you were going to get all INVINCIBLE on us. And I do quite like Kirkman’s baby, mind–but that boy’s no street angel.

Let me be the first person to mock myself for using “in-development” twice. I guess you could say that I hit SEND when the post was really, well, you get the rest…

It was… a decent series, lots of creativity, but not anywhere near the best comic of the 21st century.

Killing robots is SICK!

Not that this makes any real contribution at all, but…

There’s a dude on the back cover in a white leisure suit, Aztec/Mayan-like headgear, disco chains, and Mr. Wrestling II’s mask.

Dude! Totally whacked out.

That book was a pure joy to read.

Even when the stories weren’t so joyous, indeed.

This book kicks 10 levels of @$$ and must be read! :)

Street Angel was awesome. I look forward to seeing more of it.

You know I loves me some Street Angel!

I’ve had the TPB on my shelf for about 3 years now. I must get around to reading it.

[…] The next thing we saw from her is American Virgin, which will be wrapping up shortly (against its will). I bought this for a time solely for the art (Becky Cloonan plus Street Angel’s Jim Rugg on inks? I couldn’t refuse!). […]

[…] The return of Street Angel is next, and you know I loves me some Street Angel (as seen in a bit I did a few years ago here) and Bill Reed is a fan too (it was the 324th Reason to Love Comics). […]

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