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Lawyers You Can Love

(This  Stripped column originally appeared in the October 23-29, 1997, Long Island Voice.Click on the artwork for a larger image.)

by Beth Hannan Rimmels

'NUFF SAID:

"What's the difference between Arab Hell and regular Western Hell?"

"The falafel is better and there are more 7-Elevens."

— Roxanne Rhodes asks and Baraka answers in Soulsearchers and Company #1

I’ve mentioned Wolff & Byrd: Counselors of the Macabre several times in this column, but never really discussed it in depth. Since Halloween’s approaching, now’s a great time to check out this funny book, which originally began as a comic strip for Brooklyn Paper Publications.

Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd have carved an unusual legal niche — they specialize in "supernatural law." Or, as one tag for the series says, "Beware the creatures of the night — they have lawyers."

Yes, the premise is outlandish — that’s one of the best parts. Without getting into unnecessary legalese, Wolf & Byrd use logical legal arguments to win their cases. No ones cracks jokes and the characters take the situations seriously. Like the movie version of the Men in Black, that makes the book even funnier.

Writer/artist Batton Lash — yes, that’s his real name — has a wonderfully skewed way of using pop culture references and real-life news stories as plots. Issue 17, which is in stores now, features cases that are riffs on John Gotti (Draculotti), Dr. Kevorkian (Dr. Life) and the inanity of the religious right. A recently wrapped plot spoofed by DC’s Swamp-thing and Marvel’s Man-Thing with "Sodd, the Thing Called It." Besides being really funny, Lash found a perfect way to have Steve Bissette's, Rick Veitch, Bernie Wrightson, Charles Vess, Sean McManus, Phil Hester and Jeff Smith do guest renditions of Sodd while keeping it totally and logically in plot.

Plus, I always feel like I get more bang for the buck with Wolff & Byrd. In addition to consistently entertaining stories, because the books are dialogue heavy, it takes longer to read them than the usual 32-page comic book.

Wolff and Byrd is also a great book for someone who doesn’t usually read comic books. Know a lawyer with a sense of humor? They’ll love it. Does your LA Law/Law & Order/Ally McBeal-junkie mom or girlfriend make fun of your comics habit? Insist they try it. You might hook them, too. It’s worth a shot.

To make it even easier, all of the comic book editions of Wolff & Byrd are being released in trade paperback compilations as Wolff & Byrd: Case Files. They’re up to Case Files Volume Three. Many of the Wolff & Byrd strips that ran in The National Law Journal and other publications are complied in Wolf & Byrd: Supernatural Law, Wolff & Byrd’s Greatest Writs and Wolff & Byrd: Fright Court.

For more information on Wolff & Byrd, check out its Web site.

 

Column İ 1997 Long Island Voice. Artwork İ 1997 Batton Lash and Exhibit A Press.