Pariah-Missouri-CoverPARIAH MISSOURI OGN
Andres Salazar
Artist: Jose Pescador
Publisher: SE Studios (via Kickstarter)
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

I only play the Kickstarter “make a wish” review game if a project meets three criteria: One, the would-be creators need to have a finished product. It can be one issue and most certainly digital, I’ll never shun a Kickstarter for trying to buy pulp. Two, you’re not running the Kickstarter to buy an artist. Sorry, but if an artist really believes in a project with true passion, they will give their time knowing rewards will come soon (note to writers, start offering more percentages on the back end you cheap bastards – artists work hard). Three, it must be a decent book. I really don’t revel in shitting on people’s dreams, nor will I ever mislead my readership so someone can feel good about something they created. I’ll always gladly give feedback on an idea, but a review is a coveted prize I simply won’t prostitute.

PARIAH MISSOURI more than passes muster on all necessities for review love. This tale about a blood sucking group of thespians in the mid-1800s could easily sit with an indie publisher. The first volume OGN is a satisfyingly complete story with the freedom of indie charm, but the production discipline required for a paid price of admission.

What’s even cooler about this book is it’s fueled by ambition along with some great characters. This is Salazar’s second time to the Kickstarter well. I reviewed the first couple issues many months ago when Salazar was trying to get funding for just them. Now, he’s going for the gold to close out this full chapter about Pariah’s denizens. Now we stand with a full completion of the book in four beautiful chapters, along with all of the extra trappings of bookmarks and bonus material that have become Kickstarter staples.

OK, enough about Kickstarter, so what’s Pariah Missouri all about? Well, a lot actually. It’s more than just a vampire tale, or about the forces of good that come to Pariah to fight them. It’s about the dreams of the old West, the promise of a better life. For some characters this comes true and for others the copious amounts of dust on the ground is symbolic of all they were able to achieve in this new promised land.

Every character though has a dual purpose, the mask they wear as town folk and the true identity as either a force of good or evil. It’s this personality subterfuge I found most engaging and the book’s most unique element. There’s Hiram, the dandy fop who is more card shark than hero – at least when the book starts. Then there’s Nellie, the daughter of the hotelier who is ran out of town for gambling debts. Forced to make her own way she is the embodiment of Ole’ West grit and determination on the work front – and pure heroism on the vampire side of things. The Indian Shaman, the slave with a past and deep knowledge of Creole voodoo, the new hotelier who is carrying more secrets than keys and finally a Marshall seeing retribution.

If I had to make one critique of the story I would say Salazar almost packed in too much for an inaugural volume. This is the ADD generation after-all. Thankfully the book comes with a complete ole’ timey org chart in the back to help keep everyone straight. The vampire story almost feels secondary to the rich lives of the townsfolk, but I understood their purpose especially in light of the tee up for volume 2 at the end.

The art style is very sketchy, yet there’s detail inside. Especially with the faces, which is important since there are so many damn whiteys in the ole’ west. Dusty, I guess would be the best way to describe it. It works especially in light of the material. I will say however, I found the coloring a little too overpowering. The book is either very orange or very blue depending on the time of day or night. I know what Salazar was going for here, but again it feels very heavy-handed.

My coloring nit is just that though, a nit – don’t let it stop you from taking a trip down the Ole Miss to PARIAH MISSOURI.