ReNoMeShaMo #1 – Shamsee: A Fistful of Lunars, by Tarwater & Ricker

Cross-posted from my Amazon review of the book, because I felt the best way to start was with something by the instigator of the idea. 

Shamsee is clever, charming, and great at working the problems of being poor, which is to say, he’s been known to steal, or trade sexual services for, the things he needs. But what else can he do? His sister’s the one with an actual job. Shamsee is job-averse; at least the kinds of jobs where they expect you to show up on a regular basis indefinitely and actually get sweaty and dirty.

Because of his job-averse-ness he owes money to Blighter, and Blighter is not amused. Blighter wants to put all this behind him; he knows that Shamsee will never pay him back the money he owes him, and it might just be more fun to watch his dogs, Hands and Faces (named for the things they most like to bite, I think) eat Shamsee. Certain satisfaction in that.

Shamsee is nothing if not charming, though, and manages to buy some time to avoid being dog food. That’s where the story starts.

Tristan Tarwater’s dialogue sparkles and she drops in place names, swears to new gods, and other tidbits that set this story and these characters in a fully realized fictional world, Tarwater’s The Valley of Ten Crescents. The characters’ motivations and personality are built on a solid foundation, and then Adrian Ricker illustrates them with a deft hand and helped by an assist from Michelle Nguyen’s gorgeous colors, expanding the world even further. That world has a subtle tilt to it, one that I found intriguing and left me wanting to learn more.

The comic is a brisk, delightful read, and I was glad to have backed this project on Kickstarter. Both writer and artist are locals in my hometown of Portland, and I could not be happier to support creators of this caliber.