In the comic series Stumptown, writer Greg Rucka and artist Matthew Southworth introduce Portland to the most badass PI around. Dex—short for Dexedrine, oddly—is tough as nails, sexually ambivalent, and thoroughly in thrall to her vices. She's also deep in debt at the Whispering Winds Casino—but the casino owner will forgive the $17,000 Dex owes if she can track down the owner's missing granddaughter.
The first issue begins with a grim scene at the St. Johns Bridge and works backward from there, explaining just how Dex ended up under a bridge with a gun pointed at her chest. The next three issues pick up chronologically, telling in a four-issue arc the "Case of the girl who took her shampoo and left her Mini."
Rucka and Southworth nail both the visual and narrative tone of their hard-boiled contemporary noir, aided by moody colors from Lee Loughridge that shift with the settings—dour grays and blues in the city, luminescent yellow for a coastal afternoon. The story ranges from the coast to Mt. Hood to an apartment building on NE 118th, taking advantage of the full range of atmospheric backdrops our region has to offer. There are also plenty of winks that only locals will catch—the Heathman Hotel backdrops a chase scene, and there's even a garbage can ringed by a "Keep Portland Weird" sticker.
Oni Press just released Stumptown's first four-issue storyline in hardback—Bridge City's release party offers a chance to snag a copy, plus a limited-edition print by Southworth.