Francis & the Vegas Tramps Review
Music and comics go together like pineapple on pizza; you’d think it wouldn’t be delicious, but you’d be wrong. Today, we are looking at writer and cartoonist Brian Kelly‘s “Francis & the Vegas Tramps.” Now live on Kickstarter!
Our story begins with the usual Elvis impersonator and sex robot getting murdered on the planet Mempherica; we are introduced to our two main characters, Molly Meteor and Ray, who were once a part of a band called “The Vegas Tramps” with our now dead Elvis impersonator Francis.
It’s revealed that the band had a falling out and went their separate ways, leaving Molly Meteor to become a famous rock star, Ray becoming a galactic DJ, and Francis becoming a corpse. Molly and Ray are off on a classic and straightforward mystery of who killed this guy and why?
The Vegas Tramps pulls you immediately into what our story will be about, which is excellent for those who don’t prefer a slow-burn crime story. We are given the facts directly: “Francis was murdered, people had motives for murder, Molly and Ray investigate.”
Each character is introduced in an easily digestible way, meaning it’s simple to distinguish which characters are who, making them memorable as the story unfolds. As the story continues, Brian Kelly lets loose with his storytelling, putting in more absurd situations after another to keep the story engaging and entertaining. Vegas Tramps says, “Let’s see what wacky things Molly and Ray are up to,” and it delivers.
That said, Vegas Tramps has some pacing issues, going from one situation to another without letting it breathe. The book, at times, will feel like characters are just there to dump exposition and then head out before things get interesting; without giving spoilers, there is a scene where Molly and Ray are in a bar questioning two guys about possibly murdering Francis, which is a pretty great set up, in fact, all the situations Ray and Molly get into are great setups!
But nothing happens; they talk, say, “I don’t believe you,” leave, and then repeat three more times. So it becomes incredibly disappointing and leaves you wanting more. That is until things get absolutely insane and well worth it. I wonder if Brian realized that something needed to happen.
Brian’s cartooning is simple and tight, which adds to the tone the book attempts to set: simple and straightforward. Each character has a unique design, making them easy to identify during more complicated scenes, except the women, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but all of the women’s faces look exactly the same. At first glance, the comic does, on occasion, look like drawings a tattoo artist would do, and it makes sense because Brian Kelly is a tattoo artist, and he’s really good at it.
Francis and the Vegas Tramps is a fun ride that’ll leave readers wanting more from the creative brain of Brian Kelly. While it suffers from pacing issues and sometimes feels rushed, it hits every significant storytelling note to make Vegas Tramps an enjoyable experience. With tight cartooning and absurd situations, I recommend Vegas Tramps to people who are fans of mysteries but without the long, drawn-out, slow burn.
Chad is the writer of the horror/crime mini-series Blu Lullaby, published through Markosia Enterprises, and is currently working on other titles, so stay tuned! Chad has been dabbling in comics since 2011 and acquired a small library of various genres from various publishers, from the big two to the small press. His goal in the comics world is to shed light on comics’ weird and wacky side! When he’s not working with comics, he enjoys fishing and getting into fights with his fellow reviewer, Sabrina.