DryFoot, Vol. 1

While the pandemic raged on and effected so many of us, we of the “geek” persuasion have been fortunate during this time. At least as far as comics were concerned. Despite everything, all the great comic creators and publishers have still put out original and exciting new material. So much so that it has been hard to keep up with them at times. This is where the TPB comes in. After the run of a series, not long after a trade paperback version is released. This allows those of us who missed one of these great series to catch up. Such is the case with Mad Cave Studios series Dry Foot, Vol. 1.

Written by Jarred Luján and drawn by Orlando Caicedo, Dry Foot tells the story of a group of four teenagers, growing up in 1980’s Miami, Florida. Their goal is to leave Miami to avoid the pitfalls of drugs and crime that has become such a problem during that time. Unfortunately, one of the group has a plan that will make those ambitions difficult if not impossible. Such is life in that time in Miami and Dry Foot explores this as well as the areas Hispanic culture.

Dry Foot begins by introducing the players, beginning with El Viejo, the neighborhood drug king pin. He is mean, ruthless, and will kill anyone without mercy if they cross him. Fear is his best weapon. But he is not above using the bullet dispersing kind. He is bad news in a Miami Vice style suit.

The teens involved are then introduced. Mariana Solano, a rough and tumble female with a unique vocabulary of swear words, who loves baseball and her Abeula. She also loves her friends but more often than not, she believes they are idiots. Angel Ramirez, who loves video games and his friends and he will back them up, even if it means he gets beat down. Angel has a slight stutter and two smaller brothers to think about. Then there’s Diego Gomez, who lives precariously through movies like Indiana Jones. It is his idea to poke the bear that is El Viejo by stealing from him. A decision that could put them all at risk. Finally, there is Fabian Garcia, a fancied ladies man and a self trained lock picker. Completely fearless, except where Mariana is concerned. And why not, she spends most of her time carrying a baseball bat.

All of their lives, they have seen how so many of their contemporaries have become entrapped in the gangs, the drugs, and the crime. Diego believes they can steal enough money from El Viejo to escape Miami and start fresh. That is the plan anyway. Needless to say his friends are skeptical and only see trouble by even attempting it.

Mariana especially is concerned. It’s not like she can just leave her Abeula alone. But she is their friend and she will join them. If for no other reason than to try to talk them out of it. Angel also has his doubts. His older brother Esteban hangs with the local gang, the Los Marielitos. Not because he necessarily wants to, but because it allows him to take care of their Mother, as well as Angel and his younger brothers. But just because he does it, Esteban doesn’t want that for Angel. He wants him to get a good education. Be better than he is. Esteban does it so Angel doesn’t have to. At least, that is his hope…but hope and reality don’t always intersect.

As for how it turns out, I leave it for you to find out. But it goes without saying that there is tragedy, a twist, and some heroism involved. It also ends with the possibility of further developments that could lead to volume 2. If I were to be a betting person (which I am not), I would believe a follow up is probable. There is definitely more story to tell here.


Thoughts

I have always thought that the best stories invoke a visceral response from me. If I can get to the point where I can feel apprehensive about what will transpire next, you have done a great job. That’s the place Dryfoot lead me. So definite kudos to writer Jarred Luján for invoking those kinds of feelings. I also emphasized with the feelings of some of the parents especially Mariana’s Abeula who can slap you and then hug you right afterwards. It brought back memories of my own mother who, after after we got hurt doing something stupid, would ask if we were ok and then tell us how stupid we were. Good times, good times.

Of course, without great visuals, it wouldn’t be a comic. That’s where Orlando Caicedo comes in. He captures brilliantly the Miami look of the 80’s as well as the energetic exuberance of youth. He also captures the  seedier side with equal aplomb. When added to the Miami style color pallet of colorist Warnia Sahadewa Dry Foot not only tells an intriguing tale, it does it with style.

Mad Cave Studios Dry Foot Vol. 1 TPB hits stands on February 24th where all great comics are sold. Be sure to check it out.🖖🏻

 

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