Monday, June 26, 2017

Review - Hot Schitt #1


"Don't mind him. He just got Schitt-faced."

Being a detective in a big city isn't for everyone. For those who can pull it off though, it can be a fun gig--especially if you're as reckless as Jack Schitt in Hot Schitt #1. The issue is written and illustrated by Gordon Johnson.

The Schitt hits the fan in HOT SCHITT, a no-holds-barred action-thriller set on the crime-ridden streets of 1980's Los Angeles. One cop, Jack Schitt, declares war on the biggest gangs in LA. When the gangs hit back, they're going to learn the hard way that you don't mess with HOT SCHITT.

Johnson is unapologetic and unabashed in his approach to Hot Schitt #1 as the titular character is an amalgamation of 80s cop tough guys. The entire issue plays beautifully into this narrative as well, as every page features the main character Schitt spouting one-liners perversely on the nose. Those one-liners pepper the dialogue and infuse the book with an appropriate level of nostalgia that sometimes gets a little carried away. Johnson strings together the issue with a broader, loose narrative that affords Schitt the vehicle to move from one crime scene to the next. The issue is paced pretty frenetically as Johnson manages to his all the stereotypical high notes in terms of 80s cop movies.

Johnson also handles the art duties on the book, illustrating Schitt in gritty black and white tones. There's an extreme coarseness to the hash black lines that define the characters and settings that are made even more apparent by setting them against the stark white pages. Schitt is illustrated with a grisliness that's expected for a cop dealing with the caliber of criminals he contends with. The artwork is also illustrated in a landscape format that's befitting of the VHS it's paying homage to. It's a little curious why Johnson decided to go with black and white instead of the more "traditional" 80s neons, but the absence of color doesn't hurt the book overall.

Hot Schitt #1 is a rough-edge trip down memory lane. Schitt is a cop who's really good at what he does. Johnson gives him plenty of avenues for reminding characters (and the reader) that he's not one to be trifled with. His artwork plays out like a cheesy instructional video in the sense that it guides the reader to what's happening. Hot Schitt #1 is definitely a unique experience that may seem familiar in terms of its content, but the presentation is a breath of fresh air.

Hot Schitt #1 is available now.

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