Stumptown Volume 2 #1
The much-praised Stumptown series (first story published 2009-2010) returns on Wednesday with a new storyline written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Matthew Southworth. Portland private eye Dex takes on “The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case”, involving a stolen guitar. It’s Miriam Bracca’s favorite, and it’s a vintage Les Paul. The monologue where Mim explains the importance of tools to an artist, backed by images of typical rock journalism, is worth reading all on its own.
The vibrant band members are a great choice to play up the artistic nature of the distinctive Portland location. Rucka’s flair for dialogue makes the characters stand out while serving up an economy of conversation. Southworth’s grungy art is well-suited to the milieu — both the musicians in a club backstage and the needs of the tough-guy mystery.
Given the issue price and my general lack of patience when reading mysteries, I recommend waiting for the inevitable collection, but given the strength of this opener, it’ll definitely be one to watch for. Unless they don’t include Rucka’s closing editorial note on his history with private eyes, The Rockford Files, and what detectives owe to cowboys. Then you really should get the issue just to read that, since it provides some valuable context to why he’s writing this series.