Gunning For Hits No. 1 review: The real deal music scene


Gunning For Hits shines a light on the music industry in an innovative way.

Comics can be about anything; this is truly the magic of this art-form. Usually, they’re about overly-muscled humanoids in tight-fitting clothes, doing battle with other, funnily-dressed humanoids. Sometimes there’s a tentacled alien or like a…cat-person or something. Every now and then an off-topic comic comes out, about life or drawing or something really meta. Image Comics has been killing it with the unusual topics since 1992, with hundreds of amazing titles. Gunning For Hits has moved right on into that designation, because this comic, written by Jeff Rougvie, drawn by Moritat, and colored and lettered by Casey Silver, is about the music scene in the late 80’s, with plenty of insight, and some gunplay, to keep the reader informed and entertained.

Image Comics

Find out what an A&R guy does in Gunning For Hits

The issue opens up with an unseen narrator describing the sleazy scene in 1987 East Connecticut. We learn the narrator is Martin Mills, an experienced talent scout there in Connecticut to sign Stunted Growth, the “next big thing”. Negotiating for Stunted Growth is Diane, the band manager and girlfriend of the talent, Billy. After being hit with what seems like some pretty ludicrous demands, Martin agrees to it all, with some clever denials and wobbly statements. Martin and Billy bond over their mutual love of a reclusive artist, and the three head to an office so Martin can write up the deal. Before signing, Diane hits Martin with one final demand, which is both NSFW and too good to mention here. Martin then speaks to the reader, giving a very informative explanation of exactly how the record deal works: who get what money, and why they get it. CD makers, lawyers, radio DJ’s, everyone gets a cut.

Image Comics

Gunning For Hits is super blunt, which really works for the subject matter

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After agreeing to the final condition, Martin forces the situation to work out for him, getting Diane and Billy to step into a darkened closet. He positions them in certain locations, and just as he’s about to perform the above-mentioned unmentionable, he flips the script on them both, pulling two guns out and pointing them at their heads. There the issue ends, on just as much of a high point as the first pages. Then we are treated to seven pages of back matter, explaining how this comic came to be. It turns out the writer, Rougvie, grew up in the punk scene, opened up for Black Flag in 1980, produced albums for David Bowie, opened his own record label, got into, out of, and back into comics, had lunch with Stan Lee, created hundreds of stories for Martin Mills based on his experiences in the industry, and struggled to get the comic made at all. But he did, and it’s great.

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There are a few comics with a nifty take about music and the music industry out there. Kieron Gillen’s Phonogram, Image Comics’ Murder Falcon, Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree, and Dark Horse’s The Fifth Beatle are just some examples of excellent looks into music and how it makes us feel, and Gunning For Hits seems destined to keep that tradition going strong. Let us know what music-related comics you like, and how you felt about this one, in the comments section below.