Written by: Chris Condon, Art, colours, letters by: Jacob Phillips.
It’s Christmas time at the Sheriff's residence. Joe Bob’s son Billy has been working on a special story. A story about the local Sheriff Mummy —as in "Sheriff who is an embalmed body"— who wants to save the town from Wyatt Slurp, a criminal vampire who wants to bring the dead back to life, take control of the town, and kill the sheriff’s girlfriend. The odds are against him, but can he save his girlfriend and the town before the dead walk the Earth. . . more than they are already?
I feel like this is the second Christmas issue, but apparently it’s the first. The last Christmas issue we had was released last October. This is definitely the strangest Special I’ve read. It may be set during Christmas, but the only evidence for that is a Christmas tree in 4 panels. It’s not made a big deal out of, and nothing else suggests it. This is what makes the issue strange, but it’s still good.
The overall concept I actually like. Joe Bob’s son has written an action horror story. I like how this fits well with the sheriff. He’s been an incredibly likable character through the series but we don’t get to see much of his family life. This gives more backstory to that aspect of him. The writing by Condon is an absolute triumph, as it usually is. Although there was one part that didn’t feel particularly realistic: Billy is a young boy explaining his story. He starts with the Sheriff Mummy in a showdown with 3 men. One of the men then says “We’s got us an impasse, we cait resolve cept by act of ritualistic violence”. In any normal western themed comic, I wouldn’t have an issue with this kind of dialogue, however this is being said by a young boy, which to me doesn’t seem to be realistic that he would imagine those words.
The artwork by Jacob Phillips, I loved. It’s got the more traditional That Texas Blood artwork when around the family, then when Billy is talking through his story, the art turns into a pulp classic looking comic. I loved how the art changed from colour to faded yellow. It was very retro. Also I don’t know whose idea it was —either Condon or Phillips— to have a skeletal dinosaur in the book. Where the Sheriff Mummy saddles it and rides to save the day. Utterly crazy, but it fit with the study being told and it was fun for it. There were no constraints as it was a young boy's imagination. So the more wild it was, the more fun it could be.
I get the feeling that Jacob Phillips gets more enjoyment from the classic pulp style of comics than the standard one for these days, which seems very similar to his dad, Sean Phillips. Both Condon and Phillips are still young within this industry, and I believe they are destined for great things. This series has been incredible and I want them to continue it for as long as they can while keeping up the quality. Although I still can’t help but wonder after an issue like this, whatever happened to the fantasy part of the story from issue 1, where the dead were able to talk and stay “alive”? I was curious about this from that very moment and I feel nothing has been mentioned about it since. Despite all that it’s still a great book and a very fun special. Overall, it was a fun Special that I feel was incorrect to call a Christmas Special. One I can’t recommend enough as it’s just fun to read. A solid 4 POPs out of 5 for me and I hope for more great things from the team in the new year.
That Texas Blood issue 20 was released from Image Comics on 7th 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.