Smoke and Guns (OGN) - AiT/Planet Lar (2005)

High Concept, thy name is Smoke and Guns.

If this book were a movie its director would call Robert Rodriguez and Guy Ritchie sissies. If it were a car it would be a '68 Mustang with a flame job and a rocket launcher. If it were a radio station it would only play Big Band tunes remixed by The Prodigy and they'd have contests where you win moonshine and baseball bats with nails in them.

Smoke and Guns is all about the attitude and so is Scarlett, the main character. She's a member of the Grand Avenue Puffs, a cigarette-girl gang. Scarlett isn't content to stick to her own district so she moves about town stirring up trouble. Good thing her trigger finger is as quick as her tongue.

Kirsten Baldock (a former cigarette girl, herself) makes an excellent debut with this violent, edgy tale of a city where your life can be snuffed out as easily as the match that lights your smoke. Fabio Moon provides exactly the look this book needs. The art is sexy, funny and the kind of stylized that just clicks with an all-action story like this. Here's a good example of both the art and the action. If that doesn't intrigue you maybe "S 'n' G" (as all the cool kids will soon call it) isn't your cup of nicotine.

With lines like "(A) guy can't even look at a dame like you without losing money", the writing is smart and self-aware with nods to everything from Dashiell Hammett to Coyote Ugly to A Better Tomorrow. It's a fast-paced, self-contained story and there's not a dull moment in any of the 104 pages. If you're looking for introspective storytelling or a meditation on the human condition, seek elsewhere, bucko! Smoke and Guns is a kickass, bullet-slinging juggernaut of a story. Fork over your dough, light one up1 and hang on.

1The staff and management of Noetic Concordance do not condone the use of tobacco products or accessories nor do they advocate the use of firearms as negotiation tools

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