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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

100 Books: Bayou Vol. 1 & Bayou Vol. 2

I took a stroll through my friendly neighborhood comic book store the other day. I don't visit the comic book store as often as I used to but my nephew doesn't like to read and if he's reading an Incredible Hulk comic book he has no idea he's reading. It's a nefarious plan and one that has had some success.

After picking up some comics, I stumbled upon Bayou Vol. 2. When I read Bayou Vol. 1. years ago, it ripped my head off. The author, Jeremy Love, imagines a parallel Jim Crow South, that's not down a rabbit-hole, but through a hole in a swamp.

On that other side, there are actual Jim Crows who will rip you to shreds. Stagger Lee is working for the Bossman and he will cut you. Gollywogs are fish in blackface who eat people.

It's frightfully surreal and our would-be Alice, a little black girl named, Lee Wagstaff, stumbles into this Wonderland after whites accost her father and threaten to lynch him for the disappearance of a little white girl who happens to be her best friend. Wagstaff saw her friend disappear into the parallel world beneath the swamp. Down there she meets Bayou, a gentle giant who lets the bossman oppress him despite his size.

After finding the second one, I re-read the first one, to remind me of what was happening. It wasn't so shocking or exciting the 2nd time around. Vol. 2  was a bit confusing at parts and without Vol. 1, it would make little sense.

Still, there is a lot of emotion pulling the story through. I'm left with a similar feeling after Vol. 2 as I had after Vol. 1.: I need to see that girl back to safety, so I'll be on the lookout for Vol. 3.

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