Book Review

Sean Hansen

Smoke and Guns

Written by Kirsten Baldock;

illustrated by Fabio Moon

AiT/PlanetLAR; $12.95

Overpriced cigarettes, inter-district gang wars and guns. Lots of guns. Smoke and Guns is one of the newer graphic novels published by the exceptional San Francisco Publishing house AiT/PlanetLAR. Written by first-time graphic novel writer (and ex-Cigarette Girl) Kirsten Baldock and illustrated by Fabio Moon (Ursula and Roland: Days of Wrath), if the book were a person it'd be action personified.

The main character, Scarlett, sells overpriced cigarettes, stirs up shit with other gangs of cigarette girls and pretty much ends said gang war single-handedly. I would marry her if she would have me. Oh, wait ... she's a cartoon character.

As with most books by AiT, it is done entirely in black and white. The art quality is smudgy, but deliberately so; this may be partly a small story on glamour but it's also the story of a brutal gang war that can only end one way.

Smoke and Guns is fast fiction that rides with expert precision to the end, the kind of 104-page comic that you finish in 25 minutes and then go over again to read the clever bits.

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