Written by: Chris Condon, Art, colours, letters by: Jacob Phillips.
Christmas Eve in 1981 and the precinct are having a party. As per tradition, Sheriff Sam wants to end the night exactly the same way his granddaddy did, and his before him, and so on...with a ghost story.
In 1955, Sheriff Greer was a small town sheriff who thought he was untouchable, he took bribes and did things to get the job done, and whether he got the correct result or not wasn’t the point. This attitude he brought into his personal life too. To be able to run away with his mistress, he first had to dispatch of his wife; however that was only the beginning of his troubles.
So closes another chapter in the That Texas Blood arc. This has been a fantastic arc and this was just a cherry on top for a Christmas Special. Chris Condon has written a spooky and well told tale of the previous sheriff. Even though it’s well told as a ghost story and as one that ties into the canon of the world of That Texas Blood, I do feel like if you think about it too much it could get a little convoluted. By this, I mean that this arc started as Joe Bob telling the tale of Eversaul. Then inside his story, we get the current sheriff (of 1981) telling a story about the previous sheriff. Despite what Chris says in the closing essay at the end of the issue, about him wanting to do his version of a Creep Show story, I can’t help but just imagine this as Inception (Nolan, 2010) level storytelling.
Despite me not getting the same vibe of story from this issue, it is still beautifully told and has a symmetry about it. Back in issue 1 we had a supernatural horror element to the book, which has been mostly missing up until Joe Bob stated in the previous issue that he felt like some bad aura hangs over the town, causing these terrible, weird things to happen. Now with the story being told within this issue, it actually gives evidence towards that theory, as it develops more of the supernatural elements. Now this could be written off in a few ways, one being that Sam specifically is telling a ghost story so he might be adding things to make it scary, or the other is that Joe Bob is misremembering the story and has inserted the supernatural element over time as a way to help cope with the 40 years of terrible things he’s had to deal with. Either way, it adds depth to both the story and the character, and for that it’s incredibly well written.
This issue is the final in the arc, so it’s treated as an epilogue to the Eversaul arc, which was a nice way to end such a brutal and disturbing few issues. This issue does make me want an Eversaul spin-off series even more as I missed him from the time period (the party where the story is being told)
Something else that just makes this issue so special is the fact that after the final page, we get a breakdown of Martha’s famous green bean casserole which has been referenced multiple times throughout the series.
I don’t know what more I can say that I’ve not already said about the art by Jacob Phillips. Issue after issue he’s not only topping himself, but showing other specialities he has. This issue stands out by its two distinctive art styles. The first being the one we are used to as a homage to comics of the late '70s, with faded colours and a more traditional panel layout. Then he ups his game by going further and showing off a style which is similar to pulp comics of the '50s, when we get the story by Sam set during that time period, with just a two tone colour scheme of orange and white. Despite a serious lack of colour, he still manages to convey emotion and depth to characters, which again shows how he’s a master of his craft.
This still manages to be one of my favourite books. Each month I look forward to the next issue and I hope it continues to be as strong as it has been so far.
So as we are getting closer to the big day, I feel like I can’t say it any better than Sheriff Sam, so I leave you with his words:
That Texas Blood, Number 13 will be released by Image Comics on 22nd December from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology
Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.