Hello all and welcome to the first Roundup of 2013. This week we have the debut of the “Philly Spotlight Comic”, which is going to be a regular feature (I hope) that will showcase a title created by a local Philadelphia talent. This week the spotlight falls on John Still and his book Synergy, and we also look at the first issue of The Black Beetle and the new Image series Clone.
The Black Beetle: No Way Out #1 (of 4)
By Francesco Francavilla
I first became aware of Francesco Francavilla when he worked on the back-up stories in Detective Comics with Scott Snyder and I distinctly remember being just awed by the way he put a page together and told a story with his art. It was literally unlike any style I had seen before. I’ve followed him ever since and was thrilled to hear about The Black Beetle, his creator owned book from Dark Horse.
In The Black Beetle, our hero fights for justice in the seedy underbelly of Colt City, where he has to deal with mobsters as well as costumed criminals with their own agenda. The book is a perfect mix of noir style and superhero storytelling that will leave you wanting more long after you finish the last page. Francavilla’s artwork and storytelling is just perfect, with a mix of detailed multi-panel pages and double page spreads that give the book a widescreen yet intimate feeling at the same time. And the script is no slouch either, moving at a breathless pace till you reach “To be continued” way too soon.
If it’s not abundantly obvious, I loved The Black Beetle. It’s the kind of comic that you will love to read as it comes out monthly, and then will fall in love with all over again when you read the trade. Do not miss this book.
Philly Spotlight Comic: Synergy #1
By John Still
When I put the call out last month for local comic book creators to let me know about their work, John Still was one of the first to reach out. He told me all about his book Synergy and promptly sent over a .PDF for me to read. After reading it, I can say with certainty that creativity is alive and well in Philly and I can’t wait to see what else is out there.
Synergy is the story of Chase Cassidy and how a trip to a storage unit he inherits from his grandfather changes his life forever. Issue #1 is a classic origin story that has a lot of charm and old school sensibility. Anyone who has ever read a Spider-Man or Batman comic will immediately identify with Chase and what Still is going for here. The characters are fully fleshed out and you even get a couple of nice subplots to boot. The art is a bit amateurish and needs some work, but the storytelling is clear and you never wonder what’s going on as you read through the first issue.
Synergy is available thru IndyPlanet via print-on-demand and I recommend supporting it and getting a copy. I know I’m looking forward to the second issue and I’m pretty sure you will too.
By David Schulner and Juan Jose Ryp
Another week, another great Image series impresses the hell out of me. You would think I would get tired of this after a while. But I don’t thin k I’ll ever get weary of reading whatever Image decides to publish. This time around it’s the new series Clone from Robert Kirkman’s Skybound imprint. And if you like your comics with a healthy dose of X-Files, this is a book for you.
Clone is a solid science-fiction comic with a dash of conspiracy theory thrown in just to keep things interesting. In issue #3, Luke Taylor continues his search for his abducted wife while learning more and more about the strange origins of himself and his “brother”. Schulner’s script manages to give equal time to all the plotlines going on at once and moves each forward at a suitable speed so you never get bored. But even if you did, Ryp’s artwork is enough to keep you occupied for months. There is just so much detail and depth to his pencils that you can’t possibly absorb it all in one reading.
Schulner and Ryp have made Clone a multilayered reading experience that you won’t find in other comics. Thank God Image is here to give books like this a home that theymight not otherwise have.