Supernatural Law. Comic book series. Batton Lash

Batton Lash

The Monsters Meet on Court Street: And Other Tales of Supernatural Law

Exhibit A Press, San Diego, CA, 2012, 176 pp.

ISBN-13: 978-0981551913

Beware the creatures of the night – they have lawyers! Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd have an unusual law practice – defending monsters and the supernaturally afflicted. In this collection of stories, the attorneys represent a wide variety of clients, from a mad scientist who falls in love with a woman in another dimension, to a gangster gorilla boss, to a tycoon’s childhood invisible friend. Readers also learn more about the personal lives of the attorneys and of their intrepid secretary, Mavis, who has her own adventure with a runaway robot. Contents include issues 30, 37, 38, 39, and 40 of Batton Lash’s Supernatural Law comic book series as well as Mavis #4 and twenty all-new pages. The Monsters Meet on Court Street is volume 6 in this ongoing graphic novel series that mixes humor, horror, and the law to produce a unique and fun reading experience.

Brooklyn-born cartoonist Batton Lash created Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, for a newspaper strip in 1979. He has been publishing them in comic book form since 1994, and the comics have been collected into several trade paperbacks. The comic has been optioned by Universal Studios for a major live-action motion picture to be titled SUPERNATURAL LAW. Lash has also written a number of comics for companies such a Marvel, Archie («Archie Meets the Punisher»), and Bongo («Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror»).


Los monstruos a veces también se encuentran urgidos por la necesidad de utilizar los servicios de un abogado. La serie » Supernatural Law” trata de las aventuras de los abogados defensores Jeff Byrd y Alanna Wolff, de la firma Byrd y Wolff, cuya especialidad es la defensa de monstruos que pueden encontrarse en dificultades legales. Esto es resultado, a menudo, de una falta de comprensión hacia la naturaleza de esos monstruos por parte de otras criaturas -también molestas- como los son, en efecto, los «seres humanos».

La metáfora es incisiva en esta especie de ‘novela gráfica’. Hasta los monstruos merecen ser defendidos, y yo añadiría que incluso, y hasta especialmente, cuando se trata de “causas perdidas”. Esta fabula docet en orden a entender el significado y valor del ‘derecho de defensa’ no me parece irrelevante.


Éste reseñado aquí es, en efecto, el sexto volumen de la serie » Supernatural Law» de Lash Batton y su equipo de dibujantes y editores.

Entre otros títulos también los siguientes:

Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre: Supernatural Law

Exhibit A Press, 1992, 76 pp.

ISBN-13: 978-0963395405

This 76-page 12 x 9 trade paperback collects 14 stories from the weekly comic strip ‘Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre,’ which has been appearing in the National Law Journal since 1983. The stories feature attorneys Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd, who specialize in a unique clientele: vampires, werewolves, and things that go bump in the night. This mix of humor and horror has created quite a national following for the strip. Among stories included in this collection are parodies of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ TV series and ‘Prairie Home Companion’; an excursion to visit a client in hell; and a case involving a cartoon cat accidentally brought to life.

Mr. Negativity: And Other Tales of Supernatural LawExhibit A Press, 2004, 176 pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0963395481

In 1979, Lash created the comic strip «Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre,» about two attorneys specializing in cases dealing with supernatural matters. Unlike Wolfram & Hart, the law firm with a similar clientele on the TV show Angel, Alanna Wolff and her partner, Jeff Byrd, have always been on the good guys’ side, and their exploits are comedies. Over time, Wolff and Byrd have migrated from one comics venue to another, and now star in their own comic book, Supernatural Law, from which the stories were collected for this paperback. The stories aren’t laugh-out-loud funny, but instead deal in quiet, gentle whimsy. The appealingly cartoony art maintains a light tone even in the more morbid scenes; the firm’s secretary looks as if she grew up in Archie’s Riverdale. Lash is overly fond of some of comics’ and soap opera’s kitschier clichés. His characterizations tend to be one-dimensional; Wolff and Byrd have little personality and function as the straight men to a supporting cast of eccentrics. What’s most impressive about this book are the inventive concepts. In the title story, a man with an obsessively negative attitude visually transforms into a «photo-negative» version of himself. Lash parodies pop culture targets ranging from Stephen King and Harry Potter to other comics. The high point is a satire on Dave Sim’s Cerebus comics, which should delight even readers unfamiliar with the target. After a full quarter century, it’s remarkable that Wolff and Byrd’s saga still demonstrates such imaginative vitality.

Practicing supernatural law isn’t always safe. Just ask attorneys Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd, whose office is currently being renovated after a client’s rampage. Such vicissitudes don’t deter the pair, who now take on the case of Nagy D’Viti, a guy so pessimistic he literally radiates negative energy and whose constant whining even gets on their nerves until they realize he might be able to help them with another case. In «Trail of the Trial of the Mummy,» Wolff and Byrd try to prevent an ancient mummy from being reawakened and unleashing its curse on its descendants. «Courting the Muse» brings a disgruntled muse–the tenth muse, the muse of potboilers–to the lawyers’ doorstep, feeling she has been taken advantage of by the cute slacker who convinced her to write his novel for him. Little does he know, the joke is on him. Meanwhile, both Alanna and the firm’s secretary, Mavis, are torn between two men. Clever, witty, and funny, Lash’s tales delightfully evoke the humorous side of the supernatural.

Kristine Huntley

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

The Soddyssey, And Other Tales of Supernatural Law

Introduction by F. Paul Wilson
192 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-9815519-0-6

At last, the «missing» volume from the Supernatural Law series of trade paperbacks. This book collects issues 9-16 of the original Wolff & Byrd comic book series. Chronologically, it falls after Tales of Supernatural Law and before Sonovawitch! As with Tales, the stories in this collection have been «remastered,» including complete relettering and retoning. The stories include: «The * Files» (parodying, of course, The X Files), «I'm Carrying Satan's Baby,» «Strange Bedfellows,» «I Married a Sniveling Blob of Jelly,» «The Man Who Had His Own Personal Laugh Track,» «Personal Injuries and Guardian Angels» (with Jack Benny as the guardian angel), «Triskaidekaphobia» (in which perennial client Sodd finally goes on trial), «Bad Blood» (a takeoff on Anne Rice), «The Statue of Limitations,» «The Returns of Roger Rizzolli,» «The Littlest Loup Garou,» and the whole conclusion to the Sodd story, «Sodd, We Hardly Knew Ye.»

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