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Stray Bullets, Vol 1: Innocence of Nihilsm


David Lapham (Author and Illustrator)

Image Comics (Publisher)

> Review by Jack Dumpert

Innocence of Nihilism collects the first seven issues of Stray Bullets, created, written, drawn and self-published by David Lapham. The series opens with a gripping, violent story that becomes a double murder in the next issue. One of the killers is Spanish Scott. As dashing as he is vicious, he’ll become a continuing character. A young girl, Virginia Applejack, observes the crime, and the series becomes her story. Witnessing the murders will scar her psychically and, before the story ends, physically. She is, Lapham writes, “the heart and soul of Stray Bullets.” An abrupt change to outrageous fantasy in the sixth issue introduces readers to “world-famous gangster” Amy Racecar, who escapes her life of crime in a rocket ship, leaving the earth a smoking ruin. Amy bears facial scars remarkably similar to young Virginia’s. How this fits into the continuity is not made clear. Lapham won the 1996 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist; Innocence of Nihilism won the 1997 Eisner Award for “Best Graphic Album-Reprint”. But publication became irregular, ending in 2005. In 2014, the series was picked up by Image Comics. The entire first forty-one issues were collected as Stray Bullets: The Uber Alles Edition, an imposing 1,200-page collection. That might be more than new readers are ready to undertake. Instead, Innocence of Nihilism is a great place to start.

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