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
Ive mentioned Wolff & Byrd: Counselors of the Macabre several times in this column, but never really discussed it in depth. Since Halloweens approaching, nows 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 thats 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, thats 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 DCs Swamp-thing and Marvels 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 doesnt usually read comic books. Know a lawyer with a sense of humor? Theyll 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. Its 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. Theyre 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 & Byrds Greatest Writs and Wolff & Byrd: Fright Court.
For more information on Wolff & Byrd, check out its Web site.
Column © 1997 Long Island Voice. Artwork © 1997 Batton Lash and Exhibit A Press.