Friday, April 29, 2005

Nothing But Jerks by Dave Zeltserman, art by Jean-Pierre Jacquet

Nothing But Jerks”, written by Dave Zeltserman, illustrated by Jean-Pierre Jacquet, Hardluck Stories, Spring 2005

Lou Johnston got shot in the abdomen during a bank robbery. He survived with the help of a shady doctor, but after three weeks he still hurts. Not a nice man to begin with, the pain is making him worse. His girlfriend, Norma, who takes the brunt of his ill temper, is caring for him.

Not only is he in physical pain, Lou has some emotional pain to deal with as well. First is the fact that he is embarrassed. He tried to be a nice guy and not hurt the bank guard, and after all that consideration, the damn guard shot him anyway. Then there’s the fact that none of the guys in the gang who robbed the bank with him have come to see how he’s doing. That bothers him more than the wound.

Then Harry comes by to see him. So at least one of the gang isn’t a jerk. Maybe. After a few minutes of visiting, Harry brings up the reason he really came to see Lou. Harry’s afraid he’s in trouble with Manny, one of the local mob bosses. It seems Harry’s been skimming the money he’s been collecting for Manny. He wants Lou to talk to Manny, see what he knows, maybe smooth things out.

Lou says, sure, he’ll talk to Manny, straighten things out. Only thing is, Lou’s a little miffed. Harry didn’t come by to see how Lou was doing, he just wanted Lou to do him a favor. How should Lou handle this?

Serial art. That’s what the late Will Eisner called comics. A series of drawings that help tell a story. I’ve always felt that art can enhance the written word, and that’s what’s happened with this story. You could tell Lou Johnston is a bastard just from the writing, but the art brings the impression home. Navigation through the story is easy, but I wish it had been easier to download and print.

In short, a nice addition to the Zeltserman/Jacquet cannon. Do another one.


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