By Jorg Tittel (Writer) & John Aggs (Artist)
Limited Edition Hardcover Out Now: Buy Signed copies from Forbidden Planet
Regular Edition: 7th September, 2014
The Book: Ricky Rouse Has A Gun follows the story of Ricky Rouse, a US Army deserter who, after running away to China, gets a job at Fengxian Amusement Park, a family destination heavily “inspired” by Western culture, featuring Rambi (the deer with a red headband), Ratman (the caped crusader with a rat’s tail), Bumbo (small ears, big behind) and other original characters.
The park’s general manager is convinced that Rick was destined to greet Fengxian customers dressed as none other than Ricky Rouse. But when American terrorists take the entire park hostage, only Ricky Rouse can save the day. In a furry costume.
Introduced by Christopher Sprigman, Professor of Law at NYU and author of The Knockoff Economy, this original graphic novel is a relentless action comedy, a satire of US-China relations, a parody of Western entertainment and a curious look at China, a country that, once we look past its often outrageous infringements, is a culture ripe with innovation and a unique, courageous spirit.
The Review: It would be so easy to “one line” the story of Ricky Rouse has a Gun as “Die Hard in China”, but there are so many more layers to this thought-provoking graphic novel from Jorg Tittel and John Aggs than you’ll find in most Hollywood blockbusters. Quite aside from complex characters and an insight into Chinese culture that makes for challenging debate, Tittel delivers a tight script with plenty of twists and turns to the plot as the troubled Ricky Rouse gets a job in a Chinese theme park and ends up taking a group of paranoid American ‘patriots’ holding hundreds hostage on threat of death for ransom – including his ex-wife and daughter.
Ricky Rouse has a Gun pulls few punches when it comes to the violence that ensues in a story like like this, and nor should it: not for these creators the saccharine-sweet easy dispatch of both good and bad that comes through tentpole movie gun fights. Neither does Tittel hold back on creating intriguing, flawed characters – especially Rouse himself – with their own demons to trouble them, as well as the physical dangers they face in this story.
The script is brought to life by John Aggs distinctive artwork, with well delivered action scenes tempered with some great ‘character moments’, where a single look in a silent frame from a character speaks volumes as much as those with dialogue. Aggs’ layouts are superb, his fluid style delivering the visual side of a terrific story with aplomb.
In short, Ricky Rouse has a Gun is absolutely fantastic. Action, parody and great characters from Jorg Tittel, superb art from John Aggs… Well worth the price of admission.
• A Limited Edition Hardcover edition of Ricky Rouse has a Gun is Out Now: Buy Signed copies from Forbidden Planet
• The regular edition of Ricky Rouse has a Gun is out from SelfmadeHero on 7th September 2014. Pre-order it from Forbidden Planet here
• John Aggs Official Site: http://johnaggs.com
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.