I spoke to the man down at the tracks

Posted: March 11, 2010 by bryanhood in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Livin' it up.

Livin' it up.

It’s hard not to be intrigued by the premise of Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s 2004 comic series, Street Angel. Jesse Sanchez, a street urchin, patrols the streets of Wilkesborough, armed only with her fists and a skateboard, taking on ninjas, mad scientists, Mayan gods, and pretty much anyone else who threatens her city. It’s just as awesome as it sounds.

Street Angel is more than your typical action comic; it’s got actual depth. Jesse’s adolescent angst is a less predictable and more meaningful because of her plight. Her struggles to get by and also to help out the people of Wilkesborough are compelling and are enough to keep any reader’s attention, but what really struck me was the strangeness of it all. This is a world in which ninjas play basketball on the local courts, dimensional portals open up frequently, and a child is entrusted with the welfare of an entire city. The best part, not one even bats an eyelash. This is just the way that Jesse’s world works, it sort of looks like ours but it isn’t. At all.

Dressed for work, dood.

Dressed for work, dood.

But like any really good comic, Street Angel wouldn’t be nearly as effective if the art weren’t up to snuff. Rugg’s work is fluid and cartoony, yet has a lot of weight because of his line work. I won’t go off on some spiel about how awesome his inking is, because that’s not going to appeal to anyone but me, but man, the shading on this stuff is awesome. But where the art is at it’s strongest is in its fight scenes, which is good because this is an all caps ACTION comic if there ever was one. The fight scenes are exciting and easy to follow, but what really impressed me is the gesture of Rugg’s figures. Because of the stylized nature of the drawing, things come off as stiff at times but when it needs to, the art really leaps from the page.

I don’t think anyone is going to confuse Street Angel as a particularly profound comic. The book can be viewed as a commentary on youth or poverty or violence (or all three), but whether or not you absorb these messages, you’re going to enjoy yourself. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a comic that means something, and this one does have some depth, but sometimes I read comics for fun, and that’s exactly what Street Angel is: fun.

~Bryan Hood

  1. Woody says:


    I don’t get his line, though; “But like any really good comic, Street Angel wouldn’t be nearly as effective if the art weren’t up to snuff.”

    “up to snuff”? Is that Canadian slang? I don’t get Canada either.

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