THAT TEXAS BLOOD #1 Review – A day in the life of Sheriff Joe Bob!
That Texas Blood #1
Written by Chris Condon
Art by Jacob Phillips
Published by Image Comics
That Texas Blood is a new ongoing series by Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips. Touted by Condon in the afterward, That Texas Blood was originally a screenplay that never got off the ground. After not getting any traction for the project, Codon teamed Phillips, the original conceptual artist, and decided to take it to print.
That Texas Blood is a police procedural / neo-western brought from the small screen to the page, set in the fictional Texas county of Ambrose. Here we meet our hero, Joe Bob the sheriff. Joe Bob, like many, has a problem on his hands: he’s getting older. Hell, he’s getting old! The issue opens with Joe Bob as he wakes proclaiming that he thought turning 70 would feel different. To this his wife Martha (who’s 75) turns to him and tells him not to start complaining while reminding him that he needs to get her casserole dish back from Ruth.
From here, That Texas Blood begins to show us Joe Bob’s daily life and routine. Throughout the issue, That Texas Blood has a cut-from-whole-cloth feel to it. Joe Bob, Martha, Ruth, Karen and Ray have always been there in Ambrose County. It’s the reader who’s dropping in on their world with Joe Bob as our guide. While this makes for compelling reading, in hindsight it seems obvious that That Texas Blood started out as a screenplay. Everything from the way the characters are framed to their reveal seems written for the small screen.
As Joe Bob plods on through his day he really reminds me of Sheriff Bell from “No Country for Old Men” (which the creators refer to in their promo material). Joe Bob is a man past his prime still clinging onto the daily routine for its normalcy. If he were to do anything else it would be an admission that he’s not the man he once was. This kind of day to day routine seen through the eyes of a man who has been there can seem out of place and even a little unsettling. Why does Joe Bob bother when it seems Vic knows better? Because he doesn’t, and sometimes is best just to carry on.
As for Phillips art, Condon says that this is Phillips’ first solo work. Phillips, who is no industry rookie, provided the colors for “My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies” and “Criminal,” but this is the first time he’s worked over his own pencils. To say that this is Phillips’ mature style may be a little premature, but it can’t be far off. Phillips’ art reminds me of a simpler Epting or Maleev. It has that same grounded in observation grit to it. Philips’s work, be it in the coloring or the distorted realism, calls back to Epting and Maleev’s best work. By far, Phillip’s first work is better than most, and he is only bound to get better.
Overall, for a first issue you can’t ask for much more. Condon has provided us with compelling characters in a seemingly familiar world. Phillips has illustrated it for us in a likewise manner. This grounded in realism approach makes for a compelling first issue, and makes me want to tune in next time for more with Sheriff Joe Bob.
That Texas Blood #1
A great start to a promising new series!
Compelling characters in a seemingly familiar world.