Strange Fruit #1 Review

Posted July 8, 2015 by Chris White in Comic Books

Written by: Mark Waid

Art by: J.G. Jones

Publisher: Boom!

Strange Fruit #1 is a bold, striking comic that delivers on every level. It follows the inhabitants of a small town called Chatterlee in Mississippi during the Mississippi Flood of 1927. It is a period piece with a difference—what is the difference? You’ll just have to read it to find out. I will however, tell you this: by the end, I was not expecting the story to take a turn into science fiction territory.

J.G. Jones has painted a masterpiece in every panel—literally. I can’t remember the last time I was so in awe of someone’s artwork. There are a lot of good illustrators in the industry, but it is rare to find a piece of work so distinguishable. The amount of technique on display is astounding; Jones has delivered his attention to detail and breath-taking use of colour throughout Strange Fruit #1. For anyone that is familiar with the old Ladybird books of the 60s and 70s, Jones’ work is reminiscent of artists like Charles Tunnicliffe—it was a real treat to be reminded of such mature and varied artistry. Not only does Jones create a dense and real world, he does it in a majestic way—using a vast array of colouring techniques to give the comic an old, historical aesthetic.

As for the story, Mark Waid delivers yet again. There has become a clear pattern in comic book trends as of late; certain writers fail to put a foot wrong and Mark Waid is one of them. A fellow reviewer at We The Nerdy has just read Waid’s Archie and I’m reading this—both excellent, both completely different. This is what makes Mark Waid such a sought after writer; regardless of the subject matter, Mark finds a way to make it deeply personal and involving. Strange Fruit #1 deals with racial and social inequality and features all the factors that play a part in these problems. For example, we see the Ku Klux Klan try to hunt down Sonny (possibly the main protagonist) and the panels are tense and worrisome. Although we have only really seen the births of a couple of main characters, Sonny looks as though he’ll play a huge part in the series, especially after his ‘discovery’ at the end. I’m excited to see how the story moves forward and continues to provide the same excitement as its debut. Mark Waid has written a solid story that has the grounds to be special, even with all the tragic racism and ignorant beliefs that some of the Chatterlee population hold on to.

Issue 2 is set to be explosive. With the way this one ends, be sure to find an even more intriguing follow-up on the shelves in the near future. Waid and Jones are a perfect pairing and it truly seems that this series will stand the test of time—giving us a historical epic we can all enjoy.

About the Author

Chris White

Rock n' Roll Nerd, Gamer, Writer, Lover and procrastinator.