Vertigo Comics has been publishing a book called Scalped for a little over 2 years. I jumped on board due to a preview in the back of another issue. I had never heard of Jason Aaron, the author and decided to give it a shot.

According to his website:

Jason Aaron was named by Wizard Magazine as the best comic book writer of 2008 for his work on WOLVERINE, BLACK PANTHER and GHOST RIDER for Marvel Comics, along with HELLBLAZER and his own Eisner-Award-nominated series SCALPED, both for DC/Vertigo. He is also the co-creator of the Eisner-nominated mini-series THE OTHER SIDE for Vertigo and writer on the upcoming WOLVERINE: WEAPON X series for Marvel. He was born in Alabama, but currently resides in Kansas City.

I had no idea he wrote for Black Panther, which was one of my favorite books Marvel was putting out… until they canceled it. It was easily the best part of the Secret Invasion (sshh!) crossover.

Okay, now that I Googled him I realize he wrote THE OTHER SIDE as well, which was a completely awesome Vertigo story about two people on either side of the Vietnam War. I felt like it got cut short but I did enjoy it. Anyway…

I have talked to a lot of people—people much cooler than I—who really dig the book. I wasn’t terribly impressed at first but I kept going. I always give Vertigo books a few extra issues because I want them to be successful.

I have been plowing through the last year’s worth of issues this evening instead of doing  Very Important Things Like Graduate School Work and I had one of those mouth-dropping moments. Yeah, I’m hooked.

The story centers around a Native American tribal cop named Dash who is also working undercover for the FBI. The tribe is run by Red Crow, who just happens to own the casino. Despite the money the casino takes in from gambling, drugs and other nasty business, everyone (except Red Crow) is still poor.

The artists have changed a few times but the art remains dark. There is sex, violence, foul language and drug use but I don’t feel like it’s there just to be shocking.

The other characters in the book started to develop and take on their own voices. I’m really, really enjoying it. A friend of mine thinks it would make an excellent movie. The poverty and despair of the Native Americans stuck on the “rez” is absolutely heartbreaking. It reminds me of the movie Traffic but with Native Americans and in comic book form.

Read it for yourself, and let me know what you think.

SCALPED #30 hits the shelves on July 15.

$9.99 for Volume I: Indian Country

Volume II: Casino Boogie

Volume III: Dead Mothers

Volume IV: The Gravel In Your Gut

Volume V: High Lonesome due out in October.

Category: Comics