Saturday, October 15, 2016

Nick Travers Vol. 1: Last Fair Deal Gone Down by Ace Atkins and Marco Finnegan

© by Gerald So | G_SO at YAHOO dot COM | 9:00 A.M.

Like a rediscovered piece of music, the short story that led to this graphic novel has an interesting history: My late friend David Thompson published it in Busted Flush Press's 2009 reprint of Crossroad Blues—Ace Atkins' 1998 first novel featuring blues historian and former New Orleans Saint Nick Travers—and it garnered 2010 Best Short Story Edgar®, Macavity, and Anthony nominations. However, Atkins wrote the story in 1996, so it can also be seen as introducing Travers.

At Christimastime, Nick gets to the truth behind the apparent suicide of a sax player friend. Marco Finnegan's artwork is large and striking and reminds me of Darwyn Cooke's graphic adaptations of Richard Stark's Parker novels. In the book's introduction, Atkins recalls meeting Finnegan via sketches Marco shared on Twitter. I was following Ace at the time, so part of the fun of this book is having looked on as it came together.

I was not aware of the story's publication history before I read the introduction, but I'd been friends with David since 2006. Along with bringing Nick Travers back to life, this graphic novel reminded me how much David championed material he believed in.

Sure to win fans for Atkins, Finnegan, and 12-Gauge Comics.

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