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Another Chance To Get It Right by Andrew Vachss

Andrew Vachss
"Lord of the asphalt jungle." —Washington Post
Andrew Vachss Adapted Stories

"HARD LOOKS...Deals with the monsters created by society that prey on the innocent. [These are] subjects other comics authors would never even consider putting on paper: Child Abuse, mind control, incest, rape. Disturbing looks into the minds of the worst members of society. But for all the horror, imbued with Vachss' sense of righteousness."

—Mike Sangiacomo
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Andrew Vachss

Hard Looks Mirror Cover

Dark Horse Comics | Crime | September 1996 | $17.95 | Andrew Vachss | ISBN 1-56971-209-3

Author Of BORN BAD

I've spent my life battling the beast, from places people shouldn't go to places that should exist. The beast is child abuse, and this is what I've learned: behavior is the truth. Evil exists. Predators stalk among us, giggling at our fascination, sneering at our naive belief in their "rehabilitation." Darwin is recoiling in his grave, gasping at how our species has failed to master evolution, fearing our fate. I turned to "fiction" because I wanted a bigger jury than I'd ever find in a courtroom. I don't promise to entertain you. But I do promise you some truth-revealing behavior of my own.

This collection originated as prose, in a great number of forums. When Dark Horse proposed doing these stories in "graphic novel" format, I was skeptical. That is, until I heard I'd be working with magnificent writers like Joe Lansdale and James Colbert and Chet Williamson and Charles de Lint. And when I saw the incredible artwork of Geof Darrow and Gary Gianni and James O'Barr and David Lloyd and Harry Morris, I was hooked. Good thing I was—the writers didn't just "adapt" any more than the artists just "illustrated." My religion is that of the guerilla fighter: gestalt. I believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Presenting my work in this format has been the difference between a newly mined rock and a fully faceted diamond...dimensionally realized beyond my individual ability to do so.

The straightest way to characterize what you're about to read is mini-movies. And not silent ones.

If this stuff hits you, if it makes you angry, if it moves you to do something, I have my reward. If you don't like the material, I'll take the weight. But if you do, put the credit where it the writers and artists who collaborated so beautifully. And on Dark Horse for taking the risk.

Acclaim for Andrew Vachss

"Vachss' writing is like a dark rollercoaster ride of love and hate."

—New Orleans Times-Picayune

"HARD LOOKS redefines 'grim and gritty' to the point where you'll never use it on pap like The Punisher again."

—Don Thompson Comics Buyer's Guide

"A bizarre, fast-paced tour of the criminal psyche...Has a grim authenticity."

—Philadelphia Inquirer

"Never-ending'll come up for air bruised and skinned."

—Chicago Sun-Times

"Andrew Vachss is unique among modern writers; no one else comes close to the raw power and intellectual ambiguity that he manifests so elegantly, so coldly."

—Clarion-Ledger [Jackson, MS]

Born Bad by Andrew Vachss
ISBN 0-679-75336-2 | Jan 2001
Vintage Crime
Born Bad by Andrew Vachss
ISBN 0-679-75336-2 | Aug 1994
Vintage Crime
Born Bad - Italian edition by Andrew Vachss
ISBN 88-7684-427-9 | 1997
Italian Edition

Art: Tim Bradstreet


"Look, pal, it don't make no difference to me. She paid full price for a body, you understand? She's paying the same for your hand she'd pay for your head. You just relax, do it the easy way. My man Fong's gonna cuff your hand flat to the table, I'm gonna wrap this tourniquet around your arm, find a vein, shoot you up with this happy juice. You go to sleep. You wake up. You got one less hand. All nice and bandaged, better than they'd do it in a hospital."

I hit the switch on the blowtorch. The hissing butane was the loudest sound in the room. I cracked a wooden match into life, fired the torch.

Statute of Limitations ©1992 Andrew Vachss.
© 2001 Andrew Vachss. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Cleveland Live

HARD LOOKS by Andrew Vachss
A Book Review By John Petkovic

To daytime talk show literati, Andrew Vachss is a familiar face: the guy with the eye-patch on a zealous crusade for children's rights. From federal investigator to social worker to prison director to practising attorney, Vachss has fought for the creation of a federal registry for sex offenders, led a boycott of goods produced in Thailand to protest its child prostitution trade and dedicated his law career exclusively to representing youth.

But Vachss is also a novelist who writes about—you guessed it—"the beast" called child abuse. In Hard Looks, Vachss' previously-released short stories are adapted to the graphic novel—i.e. comic book—format.

Metropolis is a hell-hole and the bad guys aren't just bad—they're pedophiles, rapists and sex-killers. Sometimes there's a hero to save the day, sometimes the hero comes as brutal avenger, as in "Family Resemblance," where a relative of an abducted girl exacts payback on the killers with a sawed-off shot gun.

However, it's stories like "Flash of White," an exploration into the mind of a sex-obsessed stalker who monitors women via telescope that make for Hard Looks' most compelling moments. Vachss leaves the good-bad caricatures and heavy-handed obvious behind, and delivers complex psycho-dramas in the pathological city. Shade that city with some stark, dark illustration and you get a graphic world of hyper-violent, straight-faced adult action closer to Superman than American Splendor. It's just that the bad guys are sick and ugly and sometimes the hero is nowhere to be found.

Read Laurence Shames interview with Andrew Vachss
for the February 1986 edition of Playboy.

Original HARD LOOKS issues #1 thru #10

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