Tyler Cross is a pure noir graphic novel played out over the hot rocks of the 1950 Texas desert. It seems strange that a pair of Europeans would be able to nail such an American story so well. But they do.
Tyler Cross has 17 kilos of heroine and $21 in cash after a deal goes bad and he loses his crew and his getaway. He is stuck walking back into civilization or what passes for it in Texas through the desert. The town is run by the Pragg family. One son is the mayor, one is the sheriff and the third is the banker. The father runs the local mines and oil fields and anything else he can grab.
They see through Tyler’s weak cover story and toss him in jail while one son gets married. Tyler gets out of the jail but then has to face down the mob, the Mexicans, the bride and the Praggs not necessarily in that order.
Fabian Nury and Brüno were their sources on their sleeves. The book is like a mash up of A Fistful of Dollars (or Yojimbo, if you’re a purist) and Touch of Evil with more sex and violence. Which is not a bad thing.
It took a while for me to warm up to Brüno’s art style, but once it grew on me, I couldn’t envision the book looking any other way. It reminds me a lot of the old Popeye comic strips, not the cartoons. Brüno’s art captures the feel of the 1950’s very well. For some reason, it made me think of the movie Ace in the Hole as well.
This is another solid piece of work from the Europe Comics publishing house. This book was originally published in France in 2013, which makes it one of the more recent books they have translated. You really should check out the stuff they are making available to American comics readers.
Writer: Fabian Nury
Colorist: Laurence Croix
Publisher: Europe Comics