A comiXologist Recommends:
Eric Arroyo recommends Boss Snake - Cold Blood, Cold Streets
Gate City’s underbelly is home to more than enough crime lords and cults for a single pulp action hero to take on. Covered in foreboding geometric spot-blacks and brought to life with ink wash textures, this post-WWII setting recalls the first decades of the superhero genre, with all the mobsters, mysticism, and mad science to go with it. But unlike Doc Unknown, the heroic pulp-revivalist adventure comic that introduced Boss Snake, Boss Snake: Cold Blood, Cold Streets turns its snake-eyes on the story’s villain and explores his rise to power.
In Doc Unknown #1, our hero summed up Boss Snake’s life as a brutal rags-to-riches story. But this embellished tale shows that on the road to controlling Gate City’s underworld, Snake lost much more than he could ever gain. Unlike Doc Unknown’s more whimsical adventures, Cold Blood, Cold Streets is a down-to-earth, Depression-era tragedy, with the most fantastical element being Snake’s own reptilian mug. Artist Ryan Cody and writer Fabian Rangel Jr. craft a world that’s out to get Snake, with deep shadows and gritty brush strokes lurking even in the corners of Snake’s happiest moments. The slick, contrast-rich art style couples design sensibilities that recall the time period with contemporary storytelling sophistication. Cody suggests time and place with specific and iconic details, making Gate City feel fully realized with just a few marks of the pen.
Cold Blood, Cold Streets doesn’t set out to reveal that Boss Snake deep down has a heart of gold. Instead, it builds his worldview, showing what happens when a man who’s hardly given a chance has to take everything that life refuses to give him. Boss Snake is a villain you learn to respect, but never forgive.
If you ever wanted to see the dark side of pulp adventure like The Rocketeer and The Spirit, coupled with a classic mob story, look no further than Boss Snake: Cold Blood, Cold Streets. And if you’d rather stick with the high-flying adventure, read about Doc Unknown’s exploits in his own title.
Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots or listening to ABBA.