Turf is the first graphic novel by eccentric UK media star Jonathon Ross. Ross has been a comic geek for years so this book isn’t simply some celebrity slapping their name on a book but rather a really inventive and enjoyable story. “Turf” is set in prohibition New York in 1929 where the rival gangs are in a vicious turf war with a bunch of vampires. Throw in an alien for good measure and you have a story that crosses many genres but works really well.
“Turf” has a very old school look to it both in the panel layout and in the artwork. It is also unusual compared to many modern comic books in that it has quite a lot of text on each page. You certainly get a good long read for your money and letterer John Workman definitely earned his money on this one. Ross has managed to achieve some excellent character development and portrays the dredges of society in a satisfying way. The character of O’ Leary is a particularly loathsome example of this.
I really enjoyed “Turf” and although I had my doubts about the alien element working in a 1920’s New York setting it actually fit in really well. Story wise this book is one of the best books I have read in a long time and would earn itself a place in my list of 10’s but unfortunately I was not quite as impressed with the art.
Tommy Lee Edwards art is good, captures the feel of prohibition New York and it fits the story perfectly but the style isn’t quite to my liking. It is a little too simplistic and scratchy for my tastes but this does not get in the way of following the action and may appeal more to other readers. The book has an extensive gallery/cover section in the back and in this section Edwards work really does shine. I feel the style incorporated in the main story was a decision made to allow the art to be completed in a timely manner. Unfortunately the art drags this book down to an 8 for me.
The Hardcover version of “Turf” is a fantastic read with deluxe glossy paper and some great extras. Even if you do not like Jonathon Ross the media star this book is highly recommended as a first rate graphic novel. ISBN-13: 978-1607064008. 8/10.