Gun Control Means Using Both Hands...

I went to STAPLE last weekend intent on selling stuff (and I did), but just like any other comicbook convention, there was a ton of stuff there I wanted to buy! And since I was there with Josh (who was pimping his stoner superhero comedy The Green Reefer, as well as his werewolf splatterfest The Wrong Night In Texas), I was actually able to step away from the table and buy some stuff (and I did).
I didn't have to go far to get my hands on The Probability Broach, though...
 Directly across the walkway from our table was the Big Head Press table, manned by one lonely dude with a ton of books. When I wasn't pitching my comics or Josh's new graphic novel to somebody, I was checking out their books from a distance. They had several that looked interesting, but the cover of The Probability Broach was the most promising: Explosion? Check? Dark-skinned dude rocking two pistols, caught in mid-air by the explosion? check. monkey dressed like a cowboy? check. Two white girls clinging to each other in a suggestive, but not TOO suggestive way? check. Sista showing lotsa leg thrown in for good measure? Check. Everybody (including the monkey) strapped with a gun or sword (or both)? CHECK! As the description on the back cover of the book (which also features a hot blonde scientist with a pistol and a miniskirt) suggests, the story that starts as a simple murder mystery turns into an exploration of an alternate world that has no police, no real government, and taking the law into your own hands is... well, the law!
The Probability Broach was adapted from the L. Neil Smith novel of the same name by Scott Bieser (Roswell, Texas; The Rovers), whose art reminds me at different times of Dave Gibbons, George Perez, or Kevin Maguire. Bieser's art on The Probability Broach is dense and imaginative, seamlessly blending contemporary fashion, architecture and design with the fantastical elements of the world the protagonist (police detective Win Bear) lands in. He is also quite good at drawing historical time periods, which comes in handy, since the story often bounces into the past where we see how the history on Lt. Bear's new world diverges from the one he left.
This book, (or rather, the novel that spawned it) was initially conceived as a summary of Libertarianism and "the promise it offers of a better, more peaceful, and more prosperous world" according to Smith. Wisely, he threw as much cool stuff in as possible (advanced 'paratronic' technology, talking apes, dolphin scientists, etc) to keep it from reading like a 185 page political tract. Instead,  Neil and Bieser managed to create a wild and engaging science fiction story that makes as strong a case for getting rid of the government and passing out nines as you'll read anywhere.  Hardcore gun control advocates will no doubt be offended by the book, but since I'm not one of them, I was able to consume (and really enjoy) the story without letting the occasional speech-making of the characters derail the story.
The Probability Broach was published in graphic novel format in 2004 by Big Head Press, and is available on Amazon, but you can actually read the whole thing for free on BHP's website.
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