With the concluding volume of Shawn Granger’s two-part true crime graphic novel Family Bones (King Tractor Press), Granger and his artist collaborators take us to the moment where Ray and Faye Copeland are finally on the verge of being exposed as America’s oldest serial murderers. Prior to this, young Sean, the city boy grandkid who has been sent to the Copeland’s Missouri farm for a summer of old-fashioned country values, has already learned the truth, of course. But like a teenager in a fifties horror flick, he’s unable to get the grown-ups to listen to him.
After slowly building this set-up in the first volume, scripter Granger piles the discoveries on in the second, though not without spending time on the summer relationship ‘tween our hero and prickly local girl Wendy, who has her own unfortunate family past. The best moments in Bones remain the ones where we can see the casual violence so much a part of its farmland setting: Faye dumping a box of baby rats down the garbage display, a frothing Ray urging a disposable “idjit” farm hand to shoot a raccoon. When the amoral couple tell our hero that his summer stay is gonna be prolonged, the moment proves more chilling than his discovery of a body in a junked VW.
As with the first volume, Bones’ six chapters are tackled by different artists. In general, the b-&-w art is consistently grim, though Stefano Cardoselli’s slightly looser ink style in the final chapter took this reader aback somewhat. He draws teengirl Wendy’s breasts bigger, too, making you wonder whether the girl went to the city between chapters to get a boob job. It’s a small but noticeable hiccup in a strong title whose general creepiness rests in its shrewdly deployed rural details.