CRIMINAL colorist and first time solo artist JACOB PHILLIPS and writer CHRIS CONDON break onto the scene with a brand-new ongoing series! Like Paris, Texas gut-punched by No Country for Old Men, this mature neo-Western crime series kicks off when the search for a casserole dish leads to a dark and tense confrontation on Sheriff Joe Bob Coates’ 70th birthday.
That Texas Blood is a neo Western comic from Image written by Chris Condon and art by Jacob Phillips, the son of Eisner winning artist Sean Phillips. The book opens in typical western fashion with beautiful shots of vistas and other parts of this small western town of Fort Lahane, wonderfully coloured with bright oranges and deep dark blues which sets the tone for the book going forward.
We are then introduced to Joe, the town sheriff and our protagonist, as he wakes up on his 70th birthday and goes about his day. The character development is excellent as Condon introduces us to a the colourful cast of town residents while Joe looks for his wife’s casserole dish. Condon does an excellent job of making the town feel lived in and establishing that small town atmosphere where everybody knows everybody.
The art in this book is top notch and I particularly love the character acting. Phillips is excellent in conveying emotion through his art. There is one page where there is no dialogue, and none is needed, because Phillips says it’s all with his art. Pacing and panel layouts go hand in hand, and Philips has a talent with this too, particularly in the dream sequence where he creates tension and anticipation in 9 panel grid mirrored with a page turn a shocking full page shot.
The story telling through the issue is great as Condon’s authentic small Texas town tone compliments Phillips’s knack for visual storytelling. Joe has his mannerisms in both the way he speaks and the way he holds himself physically. The book is funny at points and shocking at others and the there is a mystery here, hinted at from the second page to the last and this is wonderfully conveyed via the dialogue and the art.
I had never heard of Chris Condon until I picked this book up, but I have no doubt that he will be a mainstay in the comics world. Jacob Phillips has learnt from one of the industry’s best in Sean Phillips, but has firmly established himself as an artist to be reckoned with, stepping out of his father’s shadow and casting his own light. These two relative newcomers have come together to create a wonderful, colourful and intriguing number one issue and I cannot wait for the next. As of writing the book is now SOLD OUT and is being rushed to a 2nd printing which is a huge testament to the creative team.
10/10 – This book is a triumph of a first issue, setting the tone for the series, establishing characters and motivations, and leaving me wanting more! Condon and Phillips are a creative team I want to see more of.