Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre

CounselorsA Wolff & Byrd Miscellaney, by Batton Lash

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I realized yesterday afternoon that I had started reading three different Supernatural Law collections at different times over the past few months, but had never finished any of them.  In a wild frenzy, I sat down and spent my afternoon with Wolff, Byrd, and Mavis, and all of the strange and wonderful clients they’ve served.

Two of the collections (Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre and Wolff and Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre: Supernatural Law) were of the comic strips that were originall published in papers, and the third collection (Sonovawitch! and other tales of Supernatural Law) was of the comic books, but all of the books had the same theme and structure.  Lash has been doing this for a long time, and his mastery of sequential art is evident.  Even in the earliest collections, he had a clear sense of story and timing, and over the years, he’s become even better at it, without growing stale.

Supernatural LawI think his longevity is due in part to his creating enduring characters.  All of the main characters have lives outside of the cases they try, and those lives pop up now and again throughout the stories.  Love lives, family matters, and other trials (ha!) are as central to the overarcing stories as the monsters are to the single ones, and it gives the entire series a more realistic, human outlook.  Of course, I’ve realized now that I’ve read all of the books out of order, so a lot of the suspense of those subplots is runied, but I guess it’s no worse than producing prequels to movies and expecting them to do as well as the originals….

I think my favorite story out of all the collections was “Sonovawitch!”, which was a longish story about a man who had been adopted and raised by a witch, and faced hexual harassment charges because his mother placed a love spell on a married co-worker of his.  It was probably the most complicated story of the series, and the subplots and main plots wove together into a nice whole that came to a satisfying conclusion.

SonovawitchLash relies a lot on parody and satire for some of his stories, so some of the older stories (from the strip collections) were a bit lost on me.  The stories were fine, but I could tell that some of the references and characters were based on pop culture from their times, and I felt like I was missing a layer of the story by not recognizing the references.  Still, the stories held up well on their own, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

I’ve already recommended this series twice before, but it won’t stop me from recommending it a third time!

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July 29, 2006 - Posted by | Graphic Novels, Reviews

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