I would like everyone to thank me now. The week I received PARIAH, MO it was one of fifty requests to look at Kickstarter brain children. In the past few months this has become the norm versus the exception.
We have gotten so many telegrams in the @$$hole Clubhouse to cover these dreams in waiting, I had to come up with a few rules simply to manage them all.
- I won’t cover incomplete books – if you’re looking for someone to pay you to write, that’s why God invented Grandparents.
- You must be building a series or hocking a graphic novel – I will never ask my readers to pay for someone’s pitch to a movie studio or TV network.
- It must be original and on par with real comics produced by real publishers – When you’re asking someone to contribute $5 + dollars, you better be delivering and actual honest-to-God full comic.
I feel these rules are more than fair, since you’re basically asking the world to be your publisher you should have the same respect, reverence and presentation of pitch in hand that you would if you were going to DC or Marvel to look at your work.
There were several pieces that met my qualifiers last week, but PARIAH, MO. rose above the rest for its genuine voice, originality of concept and trueness to period.
Despite its name being the contrary, PARIAH is a bustling town in the mid-1800’s. As the last riverboat stop before Injun country, this dusty hamlet is where men seek fortune or to hide from fortune’s lost. People are what make up a town and PARIAH is no exception. Salazar uses this inaugural issue to introduce the denizens of this world as well as two mysterious visitors fresh off the boat from Boston.
In fact, what intrigued me most about PARIAH was Salazar’s dedication to character development over bludgeoning his sales slug line “X-Files meets Deadwood.” In actuality, for most of the issue you will wonder where the X lies as we meet the standard Westerns tropes.
Hiram, is a dandy con-man with an Ace literally up his sleeve and a mysterious plan to be named later. We get inklings into this mission, which involves intelligence scouring at the deepest most undercover levels. Toro, the obligatory Red-Man, is a quiet bounty hunter than everyone in town knows not to mess with (despite his girly French braids). Nellie, is a tough as nails Western dessert flower. We don’t learn much about Nellie aside from her Father mismanaging his finances so much before dying that she is now an indentured servant to the new hotel owner in town. And last, but certainly not least are two beaqutiful performers from Boston, who come to PARIAH to entertain and by the end of the book – feed on the locals (and there folks is your X-FILES connection).
Is PARIAH perfect? Well…no, but how many books are these days? The mistakes though are few and easily remedied in follow-up chapters. I encourage Salazar to slow the pace a bit. Much of what I learned about the character’s back-stories came from the descriptions in the beginning versus the page itself. Hiram is clearly a dandy, but his intelligence agency allude wasn’t quite clear until I married the blurb with the dialog. I’m still not sure on Nelly or Toro’s connections to the town, there introductions were simply far too brief. On the art side, the book starts high, but gets much looser to the end. I appreciate the stark juxtaposition of going from sepia to blue to show the transition from day to night, but as this happened the pencils seemed to get sleepy as well.
These misgivings though are things I’ve said about books from the very professional DC and Marvel right down to the train wrecks produced by hack publishing houses like Bluewater. No book is perfect, but given the limited resources Salazar had to pull this issue together, he rightfully gets a far more leeway from me than books that make similar mistakes backed by leagues of creators and infinite coffers.
Show PARIAH, MO. some love on their Kickstarter page so we can see the full fruition of all four issues.