For the mother and son at the center of Max de Radiguès’ Bastard, quality family time comes from being on the lam. May and Eugene have just been part of a sprawling heist that saw 52 places robbed at the same time, and heat from both the police and their back-stabbing partners sends them on the run.
This new Fantagraphics graphic novel looks at how a family deals with sweeping change by putting a mother and son in the center of a deadly crime thriller, and de Radiguès’ stark, understated storytelling keeps the focus on this central relationship while surrounding it with suspense and action. It’s the kind of book that will appeal to fans of Charles Forsman’s The End Of The Fucking World—both the comic and the TV show—blending dark, violent storytelling with sincere emotional content that makes readers root for these characters. (Forsman and de Radiguès have actually collaborated on a new graphic novel, Hobo Mom, out from Fantagraphics next year.)
This exclusive excerpt from Bastard, on sale October 3, opens with what appears to be a typical road trip, but it quickly becomes clear that these two have unconventional reasons for their long drive when Eugene opens the glove compartment to reveal a pistol, which May puts in her ankle holster when they arrive at a police checkpoint. Max de Radiguès’ work is especially engaging because he spends time on the plain moments that reinforce May and Eugene as regular people living in extraordinary circumstances. The moments of content silence at the top of the preview make the characters come to life as the mother and son take joy in the time they’re spending together, even if that time is rife with danger.