Red Plains: Nice Place To Raise Your Kids Up

While I am a man of many interests when it comes to comics I usually play it safe with the time-tested superhero genre. Even when I wander out of my comfort zone it is usually for known properties or stories that have enough critical acclaim that I am willing to give them a chance. However in an effort to expand my comic reading horizons I recently picked up Red Plains: A Nice Place to Raise Your Kids Up by local scribe Caryn A. Tate with art by Larry Watts.

Here’s a synopsis:

This action-packed, character-driven story marks a major turning point for the people of Red Plains! The town’s leadership has joined forces with the most influential men in town, including the wealthy Don Luis Escovido. Their goal? Sheriff Doles: ruined, replaced or dead. Everyone’s actions come to a head in a thrilling climax you’ll never see coming! Red Plains is more than a simple “shoot-’em-up.” Influenced by film noir, the classic pulps, true crime, and, most importantly, the authentic Western lifestyle and history as lived and researched by its author, Red Plains is the real deal. “Nice Place” is brought to life by writer and series creator Caryn A. Tate and dynamic artist Larry Watts.

Reading a western story in comic format makes you appreciate the talent it takes to pull it off. There are no superpowered action scenes or bottomless fantasy or sci-fi toolboxes to use as a crutch to tell a good story. When you’re dealing with cowboys, outlaws and horses you had better deliver some great characterization. On that note Red Plains delivers.

The characters in the story feel extremely authentic. I found myself rooting for the protagonist Sheriff Doles as he and his small posse try to keep law and order alive against overwhelming odds. The author does an equally great job of making you hate the main villain. Frankly I wanted to see him catch a bullet more and more as the story progressed.

As with most westerns, at times the story is brutal and graphic. However it is used with just the right amount of moderation in order to depict the Wild West as it was and not abused for shock value.

Wether you are already a fan of indie comics or if you too are looking to try out some new types of books, I recommend you check out Nice Place to Raise Your Kids Up digitally on Graphicly or in its collected edition. This is also a great book to give to someone who has the stereotypical view of comics being all capes and tights. The story is self-contained with a satisfying ending while at the same time setting you up to enjoy future issues.

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