A report by Sean Edgar for Paste Magazine.
Comics scribe Alex de Campi has recently cultivated a taste for merging breakneck genre fiction with pivotal moments in history. Her latest project with artist Tony Parker, Mayday, offered a spy epic brooding in ‘70s Cold War California. In Fall 2018, de Campi will travel six decades back and 2,500 miles southeast for Bad Girls, a new graphic novel illustrated by Victor Santos and released by Gallery 13, Simon & Schuster’s comics imprint.
Bad Girls revolves around three women—Carole, Taffy and Ana—attempting to flee Cuba on December 31, 1958. The date marks the advent of the Cuban Revolution, which witnessed Fidel Castro’s communist forces oust the right-wing dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. The trio of titular bad girls are also on a mission to redistribute wealth, fleeing their north Caribbean home with $6 million of liberated mob cash.
This project nestles nicely into de Campi’s oeuvre of extreme action and noir heroines, and will also draw more eyes to Victor Santos, whose work on the late-’60s heist book, Violent Love, showed a devotion to sweeping, romantic destruction. Those timeless black lines should bring Cuba’s art-deco architecture and glittery casinos to roaring, decadent life. Also: the man can draw mascara.
The book also marks another promising entry for Gallery 13, which debuted with Jeff Lemire’s intimate Rough Neck and will also release Two Dead, writer Van Jensen and artist Nate Powell’s nonfiction(ish) period piece about a bizarre murder case in 1947.
Gallery 13’s Bad Girls Description
Bad Girls follows three women in Havana, Cuba on the night of New Year’s Eve 1958—the historic night Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the country and the nation fell to Castro’s communists.
There’s gangster’s moll, Carole, trapped in an abusive relationship with a casino manager and notorious gangster; gorgeous jazz singer Taffy, struggling with a gambling addiction and a sizeable debt to the casino; and mambo queen Ana, who is out for revenge against the secret police who killed her daughter’s father. When the three of them come into possession of six suitcases filled with six million dollars of stolen Mob money, they are given the opportunity to flee Cuba. They just have to get off the island alive.
Told against the backdrop of a country that’s literally falling apart, Bad Girls is a sexy, noir thriller told in colorful graphic novel format. As the characters try to escape their troubled lives, Cuba is at war with itself as riots and bombs explode in the streets. Bad Girls is a story of glitter, sex, violence, thrills, good cars and better music… all wrapped up in the humid Caribbean night that marked the end of the great mob casinos.