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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 3

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)!

Today we see one of the best moments in David Lapham’s excellent series, Stray Bullets.


Stray Bullets #4, written and drawn by David Lapham, tells the story of Ginny Applejack, a young girl with a pretty rough life (she was introduced in issue #2 where we see her living situation). In this issue, she runs away from home and is picked up by a stranger named Paul Barrow (who tells her of how he is a descendant of Clyde Barrow, of Bonnie and Clyde).

Throughout their ride together, Ginny and Paul strike up a bond, but Paul also seems to look at her quite lecherously (a waitress at a diner looks at him disapprovingly). He also warns her not to look in his glove compartment. What could possibly be in the glove compartment?

After a few stops (including what appeared to be a robbery of a convenience store), we reach the end of the story where Paul finally allows Ginny to open the glove compartment and this is what she sees…

Paul is running for Congress and as he tells Ginny – “Christ, Ginny, do you know how many people vote in these things? Like, nobody. Publicity like this – they won’t even know who else is running! Fucking seniors’ll eat this up!”

Great moment showing how Lapham was ready to challenge his readers’ expectations constantly.


Yeah, Lapham fully has the reader angling for the typical girl-kidnapped-for-pedo-purposes storyline. I was surprised by the finish, and enjoyed it. But I can’t quite reconcile some of Paul’s looks with the simplicity of his desire for her to be a campaign boost. I suppose its possible (maybe even probable, with the story direction and what we see from politicians in the news) that he both desired her in ways less-savory-than-for-political-motive and for political motive and in the end the political motive won out (fortunately for Ginny). It’s his look at her legs that puts me in mind of that option.

Unless, the look at her legs is just a red herring, trick of the camera and we’re seeing Lapham’s narrator’s perspective rather than Paul’s.

Fair point.

Sure, it’s possible that the guy might actually be an unsavory character who just knew that it would be career suicide to act on the impulse.

Great series. Love Virginia Applejack. Love Amy Racecar. I wish this series were another dozen or so issues long.

What the heck is up with this Gary Groth skewering of the series:


I couldn’t disagree more with his view of it being all style and no substance.

Gary Groth is a kind of a douche?

The Dane — That’s the way I read it when i reread it a few months ago: political ambition > pedo impulses. The red herring is that the reader is led to believe that Paul has a gun and is a different kind of criminal than a politician :)

And you know, now I’m going to have to decide whether I want to read all of these Cool Comic Book Moments because they’re almost completely spoiler-driven (and I made this post in particular worse by my last comment). I suppose I’ll just read the posts that refer to stuff I’ve already read or ones that refer to stuff I’ll probably never read anyway. And I’m not complaining mind you. I’m just noticing. Because otherwise EVERY post would have to have a spoiler warning for stuff that came out 10/20 yrs. ago and that would be ridiculous!

Da Fug, the way I think it’ll work is as follows:

1. The sentence above the fold will give people a pretty good idea whether they’ll be spoiled by the moment. To wit, if you’ve read Stray Bullets, this probably would not spoil you, but if you have not, then knowing it is about Stray Bullets is a good indication that it is not something you should read if you don’t want to be spoiled. Although I do note that I failed to explain that with the Avengers moment at Day 2 – I’ll try to do better in the future.

2. Now here’s the more important deal – I plan on having the Archive (when the Archive goes up – I’m waiting until Day 1 drops off the front page before doing an Archive) list the issue number for the moment rather than a description of the moment – that way, people will know right off the bat if they want to read the moment, as they’ll see the issue and figure whether it is one they’ve read or not.

What he actually does to her (manipulates her and her parents for political gain, and returns her to the home she had good reason to flee) isn’t unsavory enough?

@Anonymous: Yes, yes he is.

Man, that’s a good book. And one of the most punchy moments, too.

I love Stray Bullets. I think he shows a real mastery of storytelling in it. Unfortunately, I am not sure he has a real grasp yet on Young Liars.

I just did a podcast on Young Liars, you should check it out!

Brian Cronin — Good deal, Brian. I appreciate it.

Young Liars has gone back and forth, quality-wise, but that last issue was incredibly affecting. Lapham can do creepy better than just about anybody.

As soon as I saw that the moment of the day was from Stray Bullets (I hope it comes back someday!), I knew which scene would be highlighted. Great choice!

What I got out of that scene is that, well, the guy’s still a pretty terrible person. It made me think about how easy it is to get a gut reaction from readers with certain types of sin and crime (victimizing women and children, for instance) and how tough it is to tell a story about more insidious sorts of mundane evil.

Good choice for the list.

It was this issue of Stray Bullets that hooked me onDavid Lapham’s writing, an addiction I have yet to beat !
That final revel in which we see just how much of a manipulative a-hole Darrow is was fantastic, and you ALMOST wish that he really was just a “normal” kidnapper/pedo.
But not quite

OK, I picked up the first 3 Stray Bullets trades after reading this post because it sounded so interesting. I haven’t been able to put them down. I’m posting however mainly because of issue 21 about Roger and Benny. WOW. That last page was a sock in the gut. A pure Twilight Zone-ish twist, but I wasn’t expecting it at all and it really worked emotionally on both levels. I’ve loved pretty much every issue so far, except the Amy Racecar b.s., but I still see how those relate to the overall arc of Lapham’s tale. These are comics for people who think they hate comics.

Finally got to read this one after getting the first trade of Stray Bullets, and I have to agree, this was a great moment early in the series.

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