Ace Atkins writer Marco Finnegan artist
July 2016
12-Gauge comics

atkins_ace1I am a fan of Ace Atkins going way back. I’m also a huge fan of comics. When Ace told me that his Nick Travers books were going to be done as graphic novels I got excited.
Here is a review I did back in 1998 for CROSSROAD BLUES:

“This book sucked me in right from the start. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for Blues lore and love reading about it. So reading books with a protagonist that is an authority on the blues is to perfect. And Nick Travers is a great character. He’s funny, he’s smart and he’s tough. He’s an ex-pro football player who teaches part time and plays in a blues band. In this, the first book, Nick is asked by the head of the department to find one of their colleagues. It seems Michael Baker ( who is not very knowledgeable) has gone in search of information about Robert Johnson, and now he’s missing. So Nick reluctantly agrees to go to the Delta area of Mississippi and find him. What he finds is that Baker is most likely dead, and some one is looking for something he had. Nick follows this back to New Orleans and to the source. Along the way we are given back ground information in bits and pieces. It’s done skillfully and it feels proper with the flow of the book. Atkins knowledge of the Blues shines through in his telling of this tale. And his characters are magnetic, I was drawn right into their world. I look forward to many more in this series.”

So yes boys and girls, Uncle Jon has been an Atkins fan going back to the first book he wrote.

atkins_ace3LAST FAIR DEAL GONE DOWN has an introduction from Ace in which he explains that this was originally the first Travers and was later published as a short story. The story of how the graphic novel came to be ins cool and worth reading.


In comics a number of people in recent years have done some amazing things in the crime genre and this, especially as a series will be right in the top books people talk about. 100 Bullets, Criminal, and the Stark books by Darwin Cooke. The art is black and white and has a sketchy quality to it that suits the mood of the tale perfectly. It also seems obvious to me that Finnegan is a fan of the Travers stories and the genre of crime. You feel the mood and the atmosphere on every page. The story is a typical kind of PI story. Nick ha a friend who plays the saxophone named Fats. He’s not rich or even successful, but he is talented and a good guy. Fats is into something hinky and Nick is a bit concerned. Before Nick can look into it Fats is dead. This doesn’t sit well with Nick and so of course he looks into the death. What he discovers is sad and also infuriating.

Ace01Ace Atkins writing gets better year by year with everything he writes. I will read it all in wonder and awe. Having Nick Travers back makes me very happy and so after the original four stories have become graphic novels I’m hoping Ace can find time to do even more. This is perfect Southern/New Orleans Noir done by a master.

Jon Jordan