Title: Jook Joint #1
Writer: Tee Franklin
Artist: Alitha Martinez
Cover: Mike Hawthorne, Alitha Martinez
Publication Date: October 3, 2018
Publisher’s Summary: “TEE FRANKLIN (BINGO LOVE) and ALITHA E. MARTINEZ (Black Panther: World of Wakanda) team up for a timely horror series from the Deep South! Mahalia runs the hottest spot in all of 1950s New Orleans. The Jook Joint keeps the jazz popping, people bopping… and the women? The women are to die for. There’s only one rule: “Keep your hands to yourself.” But some men think rules don’t apply to them, and Mahalia and her coven of slain women enjoy reminding them that they most certainly do.”
Jook Joint #1 introduces readers to the world of the 1950s New Orleans south. Here, the Jazz plays on well into the night as the ladies of the Jook Joint are always looking for a good time. But don’t get too friendly, because the cardinal rule of Jook Joint is “Keep your hands to yourself.” Those brazen enough to test that rule find themselves in the lair of Mahalia, where her and her coven are more than happy to serve up New Orleans style justice.
Tee Franklin produces a tremendous debut issue that tantalizes the reader from the first panel. Franklin roots the story in New Orleans history, bringing in the local lifestyles and lore. The issue is mukry, with hints of the supernatural and veiled sexual tension. You can almost sway to the Jazz as you read through the panels, only stopping to witness the violence that Mahalia and her women hand out to the most deserving of men. At the heart of the issue is a frank discussion of domestic abuse and sexual violence, both past and presence. However, there are also empowering elements in Mahalia and her coven, who punish these men and protect the women of Jook Joint. Anyone who comes to Mahalia does not get turned away, because Mahalia always serves up justice at the Jook Joint. But even the darkest of panels cannot break the spell that Franklin casts with her scripting as she connects to our most romantic ideas about New Orleans, the 1950s, and the supernatural.
Alitha Martinez complements Franklin’s story with dark images and intensely violent scenes. Martinez captures all the brutality in a way that is artistically grotesque. Nothing in the issue appears out of place, or draw for the sake of shocking the readers. Instead, the images in the issue depict the capability of female victims to reclaim their power and prevail over their abusers.
The Bottom Line:
Jook Joint is intoxicating. Issue #1 introduces readers to the world of 1950s New Orleans, portraying the sensual jazz era alongside the violence of the time. Tee Franklin packs her issue with one helluva punch, creating the world of Jook Joint as a female-centered powerhouse comic.