BB Wolf and the Three LPs (Top Shelf) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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BB Wolf and the Three LPs

Top Shelf

Jun 24, 2010 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Writer JD Arnold and artist Rich Koslowski (award-winning creator of Three Fingers and The King) weave a rich and sometimes savage tapestry of 1920s Southern life with BB Wolf and the Three LPs. The skeletal story may stem from the fairy tale we all know, The Three Little Pigs, being turned on its ear, but dark ruminations on slavery, racism, blues/soul music, alcoholism, and the ramifications of vengeful murder, bubble up to the surface. If Arnold's monochromatic through-line were a beverage to be savored (which it is), it would taste like a strong, bittersweet Southern tea.

The highly relatable Big Bad Wolf tries to provide for his family as a farmer/blues musician, but his Maus-ian world begins to crumble when The Three Little Pigs (a symbol for white folk here) forcibly take his land and tear apart his family. This is when the story kicks into overdrive and Koslowski's beastly linework proves his past Eisner Award nominations were justly deserved. His depictions of death are particularly striking here. Whether it's a bulging blood vessel or the glint of a fang, BB's bloody rage is rendered with an eye for detail.

One would hope the same could be said for Arnold's narrative. He sticks primarily to BB's arc, and that of his enemies, but readers are sometimes left to their imaginations when it comes to his family's back story. Arnold and Koslowski hit most of their marks. If nothing else, this is a succinct story. Despite the aforementioned narrative lapse, this sepia-toned tale yanks at your heart strings so hard it's bound to snap a few. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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