Shuck by Rick Smith and Tania Menesse

“I don’t think any explanation could do it justice, but how about: What if Seth and Alan Moore decided to do a ghost story with a George Herriman feel to it?”

–Dave Sim (Cerebus)

The Skinny

The Devil retires in suburbia.  All hell breaks loose.

It’s Hellboy meets Little Lulu as Shuck –  one of the head honchos of Hell – retires to a small town and tries to stay out of trouble.  Disguised as the neighborhood handyman, Shuck finds himself untangling the town from discord he unknowingly brought with him from his long history in Hell.

An instant indie success when it hit the stands, Shuck was originally self-published as six black and white issues under the title Shuck Comics, which were then collected in a single volume TPB titled Shuck: Unmasked.  Then three more stories followed under a new title, Shuck the Sulfurstar, with many, many more stories plotted and planned, most of which remain unpublished.  Additionally, a full color strip was serialized online for a brief period.

Killing the Grizzly is now pursuing a full-color treatment of Shuck the Sulfurstar and/or Shuck Comics.

“One of the few comics today that can genuinely be called charming, not to mention good enough to spend money on.”

Steven Grant (Badlands, Nexus, Frank Miller’s Robocop)

The Style

Shuck is a sympathetic character in a unusually intelligent comedic drama about the past that refuses to go away, no matter how much we run from it, and the decisions we all thought were good at the time.  No matter how many new leaves Shuck turns over, there’s always rot under each one that reminds him of his role in the world and that he will always be the fall guy.

Each episode finds Shuck dealing with these old troubles.  A regular cast of recurring characters surround Shuck and new ones will appear ― mostly on the front steps of the inn where Shuck works as a handyman.  Some characters join the regular cast ― like Thursday and Hedge Friday, a mother/daughter combo who are bent on finding out where Thursday’s grandfather disappeared to (he sold his soul to Shuck).

“Every story is filled with a kind of wide-eyed mysticism that incorporates various belief systems without casting about judgment. It’s sweet (in a good way), deeply intelligent and richly imagined.”

–Troy Brownfield (Shotgun Reviews)

The Story

Shuck has been downsized by the world.  All he wants now is to escape into the obscurity of suburbia and lick his wounds.  The peace and quiet he yearns for is elusive: the trouble Shuck has brewed over the millennia comes back to haunt him.  It’s up to Shuck to keep the small town where he lives free from the tumult he’s brewed for so many years.  Along the way he finds that the folks who have made deals with him are as much at fault for the world’s woes as he is.

As Shuck gets embroiled in these misadventures, the stories tip their hat to historical and literary milestones where the devil played a hand in steering history.

“Smith sets an interesting tone, somewhere between Ed The Happy Clown and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.  Considering how literally most fantasists interpret religious myths (see any of Vertigo’s various Sandman spin-offs for an example of this), it’s refreshing to read an approach that seems firmly entrenched in the deep metaphorical underpinnings that compose myth. ”

–Tim Smith (Buzzoscope)

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