If you are looking for a trippy tale that you are never sure where it is taking you, then I must recommend The Drude: Volume 1, published by Devil’s Due/First Comics and was created, written and drawn by Omaha Perez. This Them meets Fear and Loathing, with a splash of Hellblazer in a spiked punk leather jacket of a book plays with conspiracy tropes and weaves a fun tale with them. One of the things I love about indie comics is that the creators are often more daring to take risks, be a bit raw, show things that are a bit taboo in mainstream comics that have to be sanitized for mass consumption. The Drude contains cursing, nudity, sex, drug use, and violence, so this one is not for the kiddies.
I am sure at some point in time, whether it was glancing a cover of The National Inquirer or discovering some obscure conspiracy documentary on Netflix, you have seen the theory that there is a race of lizard people that are in positions of power throughout the world. George W. Bush was supposedly a lizard person if I remember my tabloid headlines correctly. The Drude explores these theories as reality through the character of Boris Drude, a stoner punk musician that can see through the disguises of the lizard people.
The Drude: Volume 1 opens with a bit of narrative cliche; the “not-quite-dead” guy coming back to life with a touch of amnesia. However, it uses this structure well to jump around in the story’s timeline to piece together what is going on. Why did Boris end up “dead”, who are these lizard people, and why are they after Boris and how is it that he sees them are all answered in time. Well, mostly answered. There is still enough questions left to warrant a Volume 2.
One thing I found interesting is that throughout this first volume are song lyrics splashed across pages which occasionally got a song or three stuck in my head. They do not nessecerily have any deeper meaning or provide much context beyond the superficial to the actual events playing out in the panels (such as the “smoke two joints before I smoke two joints” song the characters sing while they are getting high). Regardless, I found them a fun addition to the reading as the jukebox in my head gave the words a soundtrack to read by.
Since the joy I had in reading this was due to not having much of an idea of where the story was taking me, I shall refrain from any spoilers here. It is a piece best read without knowing too much going in. The Drude: Volume 1 is not deep, or insightful, or will likely bring about any sense of self-realization, but it is a fun fast-paced read that provides some entertainment that will leave you wanting more once it wraps up. I for one would love to read more on the character Aleister Crowley (great, now I have Ozzy Osbourne’s Mr. Crowley stuck in my head)!