Cubie ‘n Bouncy Out of the Box (jeciel gaerlan)

The Cubie n’ Bouncy book was already out and praised much last November Komikon, but at the time I was running out of funds and passed on it as one of the for-kids comics. The mistake was corrected last Summer Komikon.

Cubie and Bouncy are a box and a ball, respectively, toys of John’s family. Cubie is generally depressed, Bouncy is generally optimistic. Both get thrown around and misused then loved then well-used in equal turns by the family, who sees them for the inanimate objects they are. The humor is taken from their very human feelings about being manhandled and mishandled then properly handled. The series are the compiled four-panel strips available on Facebook.

John’s family is actually quite nice, and so are their pets, but all of them are just clueless about the feelings of their toys. Similarly, Cubie and Bouncy don’t fully understand the motives for the human actions. This disconnect accounts for most of the comedy in the series. It also works out as cute and adorable, because both sides are just confused, but neither is sadistic. Along the way there are many little insights into family life that gets across, which also adds to making this series very likeable.

The art style is quite clean and smooth, and works really well in color, so the higher production value of the full-color book presentation is definitely appreciated. The lettering for the dialogue is nice and understandable. The author has a great sense of comedic timing, both for visual gags and wordplay.

Overall it’s a series more for parents with young kids than it is for kids, because it presents life in the eyes of a parent of young children. It’s understandable enough that a kid in the higher elementary grades will get most of the jokes. It’s a nice family-oriented comic series, and more compilations will be really nice.

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The ‘Verse komiks (hontiveros / various artists) [alamat]

I’ll be the first to be highly scared of reviewing the Alamat releases, because, you know, Alamat is legend, in name and in reputation. You have to admire all the work this pioneer group is doing to further advance the indie age, to a point where it is nationally accepted. You also admire how the group chooses to remain true to its roots, by continuing to release indies in the standard format they helped to establish.

Similar to Mythspace, the ‘Verse is a set of stories all written by David Hontiveros, but rendered by various artists. Each one builds on the other, such that it’s rather helpful to get all of them to fully understand the overall story.

Life is split into two worlds, the diabul (where angels and demons reside), and the oikoumene (where humans live). Life is good when these planes don’t meet, but they often do, sometimes with disastrous effects. It is the job of a select few, half-breeds, immortals, or dimension-crossers, to keep both planes intact, to keep the characters in each plane from causing trouble in the other.

The individual comics deal with specific characters between the worlds, and how each one deals with their unique problems.

Agyu 1 and 2 (illustrated by Vinnie Pacleb) — Elias Sandoval is a fighter, for the diabul (as the legendary Agyu) and the oikoumene (as the legendary MMA fighter E-rex). He can do so because he is half-enkanto. This makes him recognized by both planes, but accepted by neither. This gives the story of his origins and how he has tried to cope with his dual life since. The art and its pacing and paneling are incredible, demanding attention at each page, moving the story along well. There are a few points where the coordination between the script and the art falters, but this is rare. There are also some points when the direction the story takes gets confusing, as it shuttles back and forth from past to present. But generally it’s a solid piece, and makes you feel the pain the character goes through.

Kadasig 1 (illustrated by Ian Sta. Maria) — This is the release I missed last November, as it was gone by the time I arrived. Kadasig is from the Skyworld series, and as an immortal arbiter of the world he sometimes fights in its battles. In this case the Agyu Elias takes in a being more than he can handle alone, so Kadasig steps up to intervene before things get really ugly for both planes. The drop-dead-gorgeous Sta. Maria art is totally here, highly detailed and awesomely inked through and through. There are several pages of conversation where the speech balloons get too cramped, in order to fit all of the dialogue. There are also some pages where the heavy inking and detail work feels like an information overload to me, but this is a minor complaint which others may not find to be a problem. It’s totally worth your time. More Kadasig is always worth your time.

Tatsulok: A Vision of Dust 1 and 2 (illustrated by Xerx Javier) — Involved in this world of two planes are many half-breeds, including Lucio Portador (a half-demon) and Miguel Samson (a half-angel), who live in the oikoumene world but have skills from the diabul world. Normally they are on opposite sides, but both of them have a joint interest in the succubus Lora, who is escaping from her and Lucio’s otherworldly boss. The printing is a little weaker compared to the other two releases. The art is classic in its presentation and paneling, which is not a bad thing, for in the detail work and in the backgrounds it shows the strengths of that style to awesome effect. The snarky and sarcastic banter between the three main characters moves the story along with a great pace. This has the most straightforward thus most understandable story among the three releases.

The world-building notes and the author notes present in all the releases are interesting, yet they also feel somewhat like too much information. Some of them are also hard to follow after a while. That said, they do give better insight into the stories and the inspirations behind the worlds.

Overall they are fine releases by legendary komikeros, putting their best feet forward with a story and script that best delivers their strengths. All are worth your time and investment. It definitely shows you why the Alamat group is the stuff of legend, and why they will stay that way as the indie age marches on.

rapid reviews

This is the final wave before the Summer Komikon. Bring on the zombies.

Salmon Komiks issue 4 (Salmon) — It has gotten to a point where these girls could actually point me out when I pass and hawk their wares to a suki. Not that I’m complaining, because these girls continue to improve in such leaps it’s rather hard to believe. The only yuri thing ever about them is still just the cover (to my somewhat disappointment, but never mind me…), but their pacing of story, their inking, their paneling, their story timing is all worth the being begged to buy. All are funny in their ways. “U-turn”, all yaoi and yuri fangirls will relate to. “Interview” is their crazy Taglish take on Fifty Shades of Grey, and yes it’s as crazy as that sounds. “Flipperman” is the best illustrated of the three. All of them are examples of a threesome gaining confidence in their work, which is getting even better for it.

Catch! (Richard Arguilla) — These are the compiled comic strips usually released on their Facebook page. When compiled like this it’s easy to understand why Catch! has the following it currently has. All the characters are loud, funny, impulsive, and very likeable for being loud funny and impulsive. Their reactions to situations are very Pinoy, if taken to their logical extremes. The art style is quite a likeable simple one, too. Chard tends to veer toward being very colorful in his language, the only reason why you’ll probably never find this in the spreadsheets, but Catch! is quite the crazy and funny comic series to follow.

Codename Bathala 2012 special STGCC exclusive edition (Jon Zamar / Judd Abinuman) [Point Zero] — This is the version for the Singapore major comic convention, and is a rerelease of the first issue from 2011. Which is okay, because I’ve been seeing this but haven’t gotten around to reading it. Michael Divinahustisya is wheelchair-bound due to an accident as a pilot. He defends the peace now as something of an iron-man-type hero. This of course leads to a straightforward superhero Western-type story, even with the differently-abled-ness being a twist. But Captain Divinahustisya is a nice enough fellow with spunk and grit and nerve that you do want to follow his exploits. If Western-type is your thing, this is definitely up your alley.

West Side: Atsay is Born (Ariel Atienza) — West Side has had several compilations already. This is the one I picked up from GTMACC, not really knowing where to start. In contrast to the title, only several comic strips in this set are actually about the new househelp. THat househelp, though, is quite the character. West Side is about family, school, and work, especially when you’re a Filipino who started life in the States then had to migrate back to the Philippines. With the unique but not-so-unique outlook that it has, it finds humor in the clash of cultures, and that very well. The colored versions are more interesting to look at, but in their published form they’re nice to have in close succession.

Ambush: RIP; Indieket exclusive; Team-ups (Andrew Villar) [Core Studios] — By day Amber is your not-so-average smart girl who goes to college; by night and on-call she is agent Ambush, who fights crimes, otherworldly things, and such. The Ambush series is hard to keep up with, especially if (like me) Manila Bulletin annoys you something, erm, basta, ugh, and you just get it for the Sunday classifieds. This is a shame, really, because Ambush does have a good running comedic story about it, driven by a female lead that is more than able to kick butt and take names. This is also why the compilations are a welcome thing to have, because you get a chance to see the spreadsheet comics in close succession, thus understanding the running story and all the Komikon and pop-culture in-jokes that the series has. Of course color is lost to the self-publishing, but this is not a major loss compared to now knowing all about Ambush, what makes her tick, who her friends are, and what her parents were. It’s the compilations that made me take a second look at this comics I can’t understand, and will now follow like most other people.

Kamote Chunks volume 1 (Greco Milambiling) [Core Studios] — This is the alternate side of the guy who makes Aha! Hule! for the spreadsheets, and is unapologetically in-your-face. It’s a compilation of strips dealing with the raunchy and the risque, in a style that is surprisingly modern and updated. Yet for all the mature-ness of the content in these pages, there is a degree of restraint here that actually makes the puns hit harder than if it were all-out. Most hilarious is the final comic, the insight into the various kinds of Fine Arts students.

Battle Axe (DarkChapel) [Silent Sanctum Manga] — It is unfortunate, really, that my phones, while they do have cameras, don’t have negative effects. Chapel created a white-on-black comic that, while it is perfectly understandable as is, is even better in the negative-effects setup he intended. Battle Axe is this rather irritating hero that goes takes things into his hands without asking, thus creating havoc wherever he goes. Despite himself, he still gets things done, good kinda wins over evil, and all that. It’s more irreverent than Mona, but also less humorous than Mona.

Shatter space (Nelz Yumul) [Dark Bulb] — I got this one from Vinyl on Vinyl at The Collective, and I think it did make an appearance in an earlier Komikon, I just didn’t get a copy. Spaceman Slash Commando has traveled the vastness of space to re-locate the planet Ang Mundo after its destruction some time back. He may have found it, but will also have to deal with aliens and other spacemen that have already inhabited it. He does this with such crazy and absurd flair, using his Astig-Gun, that it hard to take seriously….and that is the point. Space Mando and his author just want to have fun. Nelz Yumul does this with an incredible and dynamic action-packed art style, one that makes it occasionally hard to understand the panels, but one that is hard to ignore and put down.

rapid reviews

These are various titles acquired between GTMACC, Winter Komikon, and various other places in between.

Bato, Agimat Warrior (Gener Pedrina) [Kathang Indio] — If there is such a thing as a hero without a real clue, you’ve just met him in this guy. For some reason that’s why he’s actually something of a popular komiks character among the Bayan Knights. Bato does have the mean skills and the moves, but his timing is off most of the time, he’s arrogant and prefers to do things alone, and, yeah, in many cases he doesn’t have a real clue; he just wants a big fight and a reason to defeat stuff like kapre and tikbalang. But I suppose he’s likeable that way, and Gener Pedrina does have an incredible Western-comics style of inking and paneling that demands your attention. There are plenty of typo errors, and one often wishes this was presented in Tagalog instead, but generally a solid piece by a komikero who knows his way around.

Sandata issue 0 (Gener Pedrina) [Kathang Indio] — Yet another of the Bayan Knights and part of Sanduguan, this gives the story of how Sandata got the rather-magical arnis sticks he uses in battle. A straightforward delivery, with a nice well-paneled fight in between, which makes you like the character more. It’s definitely the product of a man who knows his komiks and knows how to tell a komiks story.

The Manila Automat annual comics roundup (Mica Agregado) — This is the compiled tumblr comic posts and other comic pieces by the author, who has a distinct alternative style and cynical, rather hipster, tone that sets her apart. She is definitely better that she thinks she is, though her style does take getting used to. Her insights and the presentation of such is still better organized, therefore clearly understandable, than in some of the practitioners of this kind of comic-ing. If this is your kind of comic, she is definitely worth the follow.

Confused volume 1 (Trizha Ko) — TKo is from the same direction of comicing as Mica Agregado, and this clearly presents itself in her output, angsty, psychedelic, cynical. Also bordering on rather worrisome; that is, my OTHER training keeps popping up when I see something like this and asks if this is a complicated call for help. In any case, a distinct work that demands attention by being completely out-of-the-box. The use of red within the works was effective both for the shock factor and for the emphasis it gives in certain points.

Agbagtitakmanen (Rawwrr Enrique) — I have no idea what the title means in a dialect, I’m sorry. Kapitan Bomba Man, after many adventures, dies the death, and someone has to take his place. This new guy is taken from our world, via the toilet, he is appointed the new Kapitan Bomba Man, et cetera et cetera, through the power of the awesome jacking off. Rawwrr Enrique’s work definitely needs a certain kind of appreciation for NSFW material, and this is no exception. But that said, it’s hard to ignore such great control of inking and paneling, using such a unique art style, as well as good comic pacing for good comedic effect. Especially if you can accept green humor, this author is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Magugunaw na ang mundo, nasa’n ka na ba labs ko?! (Tin A Pie/ WilVic) [Salimpusa] — A guy wakes to find that he can’t contact his girlfriend…oh, and that demons are taking over and the world is about to end. It’s quite the cute and competent take on the end-of-the-world scenario, with a little romance on the side, lots of well-timed comedy, plus a guy who unwittingly becomes heroic for all the legitimate but simple reasons. It deserves to be the somewhat-hit status it currently has among the indie-tiangge releases, as it keeps getting asked for in various ways in the recent Komikons.

Desolation issue 1: Deadzone and Friendzone (Mik Kamote) [Pazin-Tave] — Guy is too concerned about potentially angering his girlfriend that he doesn’t know the zombie wave has happened until it’s a bit too late. And even then he’s more worried about her girlfriend being mad at him. In that respect it’s a different take on the zombie genre, and a rather interesting one. The paneling feels somewhat too wide-spaced, but not as bad as in some komiks I’ve seen, and in general it’s well-paced and well-inked. It just stopped too early, or it went on a little too much about the relationship, one or the other. But it’s interesting enough to keep following.

Tarangka (Anino Karimlan) [Ikos] — It stopped too soon, such that we don’t know what exactly happened, but a young man finds himself in a strange town, the only survivor of a wipeout against his own cursed town. There is enough information to keep one interested, but not enough to encourage someone to follow through to a second issue. But the art style is great and hard to ignore, the paneling understandable.

Tales of Wiz (Double Jeff) [Salimpusa] — If you’re looking for a nice little story with a fantasy element, you can’t go wrong with this one, a nice blend of original material with things derived here and there from fantasy RPGs. Wiz is a wise-cracking cat out to seek his fortune while looking for adventure. But his next adventure comes to him as he returns to his hometown, and meets up with the princess of the realm who befriends him and joins him. It runs like your typical fantasy story, but there are many things to like, including the spunky main characters. The art is quite nice, with adequate paneling and good pacing, with sufficient detail where it is needed.

rapid reviews (sukis)

Some of the releases I should have commented on before but didn’t get around to doing. May still be available in the coming Summer Komikon.

Crime-Fighting Call Center Agents 3 (Noel Pascual / AJ Bernardo) [Kowtow] — Please, if the Ang Maskot short film gets anywhere, can someone already make an indie movie out of this series? The conclusion of the two-parter started in issue 2 gives a satisfying, if rather initially confusing, ending, that can only happen in this country and be feasible, where fiestas are a big deal and we have more films of a franchise than we know what to do with. The art remains in the high standards it has set for itself, which makes the dark comedy even more effective, for you never really know what to expect at any point. Someone make a Kickstarter to create indie films of this already, please?

Cadre: Gremlin Pursuit 1 (Emil Flores, Ian Magallona, various artists) [Polyhedron] — The view into the various adventures of NBI agent Ganigan and his friends continues in this anthology, a more mixed-bag release due to the variation of art styles employed. What strings it all together this time is the running narrative that moves across the issue, where Ganigan and his friends are targeting some local big fish, with aspects that may be hard to explain anywhere but in this crazy country. Ian Magallona’s “Necessary Evils” reads well, but reads rather unevenly for some reason that is difficult to pin down.

Zombinoy 3 (Yleana, Cruz, Layante, Santos) [Pelikomiks] — This is another of the stories I wish someone would pick up for a major movie. The zombie problem rages on, and as is common in this country everyone is finding solutions for themselves without waiting for the slow-ish wheels of government. Some of our characters are getting brought into the Ark, a makeshift mobile city. The lovebirds are getting infested with a zombie attack. And the president is still fending off the Americans, and starting to fail at it. It’s The Walking Dead but with a very local flair, and it continues to deliver.

If I’m running out of coherent things to say about these regulars, this is just me trying to say, these are all really good, keep following them, they are worth the continuing support!

rapid reviews (anthologies)

These are the anthologies I got back during the Winter Komikon but never got around to saying stuff about. Many of these are definitely going to be available during the coming Summer Komikon.

Grail comics anthology 2012 (UP Grail) — Unlike Lunarock, UP Grail’s objective is to promote comics as a literary medium. This manifests in the kind of output they produce, with an emphasis on story and theme, a tendency toward the more alternative art styles. Overall this creates a body of work that is of a higher standard in story and theme than some other groups. Paneling and presentation is consistent and even for most. Best known members: Mica Agregado and Edge Sarmy. Best: Untitled (Sunny Tan/Mika Bacani) and Deer Hunt (Dani Go).

Lunarock Quarterly Komik Compilation issue 2 (UP Lunarock) — This is a komikero group who just want to make the best komiks they can, making readers happy by delivering a good story. This of course is a different mindset from UP Grail, but is as legitimate. The art styles are as varied as the members, but all have the aim to deliver interesting and understandable stories. The editorial process has ensured that majority of them are presented with adequate well-paced paneling. Best: Ang Alamat ni JoyJoy series (Kat Capulong) and Disconnect (Elaine Quililan). JoyJoy’s series should really stand alone by now.

The Plurkian Brotherhood Anthology 2012 (Plurkian Brotherhood) — This is a group that has some growing up to do, but has plenty, plenty of good raw potential. More familiar with the manga style, they all however no longer present as manga clones, but as original creations. Best: Sister My Sister (Arbee) and Inobservance (Pansikoser).

The Quarterly Bathroom Companion Comics Compendium 2 (editors DJ Legaspi and Josel Nicolas) — The QBCCC series is still one of the standards for local komiks anthologies (along with the Gerry Alanguilan Komikero anthologies). It is and continues to be an eclectic selection of art styles and storytelling techniques, by creators from diverse backgrounds, united by the need to tell the best story in the best way they know. The contributor list is a veritable who’s-who of some of the best currently in the komiks scene, and is definitely worth the purchase.

Studio 4 Eyes volume 1 (Studio 4 Eyes) — S4E is composed of artists solidly and unabashedly perpetuating the manga style, and this is both their strength and weakness. If manga-style is your thing, you can’t go wrong having something like this to read, for these does have cute guys and rather spunky girls creating havoc in their high schools, illustrated with competence, with good paneling and level of detail. However if you’re starting to look for more substantial themes and less cookie-cutter characters, well this is as manga-style as it gets and gives not much more. Best known member: Columbia Kho.

rapid reviews

All three I liked immensely…I just don’t know how to properly say it.

Noisy Blood (Dodo Dayao / Bong Leal) — A beautifully haunting tale of how life turns full circle, it relates the rise and fall of boxer Diego Brillantes, in pages of tightly-controlled dialogue but highly expressive rectangular panels of illustration. As a full-color release, it is even more haunting, since it shifts from grays to sharp colors gradually to great impact. It is beautiful, just beautiful, and totally deserves a wider audience.

Askals (Dodo Dayao / Bong Leal) [Moryon] — Initially released in 2005, this is quite the masterpiece of the indie age even before those football guys made the name famous. This is the story of the Manila underbelly, the one man who wants out, the people after him due to personal interests, and his last chance at salvation. At times dizzying, often disconcerting. Always paneled masterfully, and always taking advantage of the nuances of tone possible with a full-color release, even if they just utilized black, white, green, and sepia. It’s just jaw-dropping incredible, and Pao Chikiamco said it better a few years back at how incredible this is.

Horsemen (Sere Cruz) — Sisenando is a Fil-am who reluctantly finds himself in the middle of the fighting between America and Germany in World War II as a soldier and a gunner. It basically follows him as the fighting goes on around him, as he takes it all in with a mixture of terror and bravery. From the pacing and presentation it’s definite that the author was able to talk to a relative or friend about the war, as this has an honesty to it that is hard to ignore. The amount of detail going into each page is also quite impressive, without creating messy and confusing panels. I’m not sure if the border panels in the second issue were necessary, though, causing a distraction for the eyes. But on the whole, quite a remarkable piece.

katunga: to the other side (piaya_special) [piaco/ice cream indie]

The Iloilo komikeros of Ice Cream Indie have been regularly churning out manga-style komiks of the last few years, and by now they seem to have a regular following. Of the products they showed last Komikon several were anthos with several issues, and the others were titles I already had (and I was already running out of budget). Therefore it was Katunga that got bought. Among the titles on the table that was also the one with the most impressive art using the manga style.

(I am purely Tagalog, so don’t ask me what “katunga” means. My Cebuana friend says it means ‘middle’ or ‘half of’.)

Maya has always been bullied as the daughter of an aswang, but her world collapses when her mother is burned alive inside their own house by the villagers. She is taken in by Ajussi, her mother’s young albularyo friend (and a Kpop fan!), and helped by Ruwan, resident quiet bishonen with thorn whips as weapons. Maya is also transferred to a school for otherworldly beings, and actually quickly becomes friends with one, manananggal Mana. But all is still not well in this new school, besides the fact that Ruwan seems to be an aswang hunter, and Maya is slowly falling for the cutie.

Admittedly that spells like your usual manga young-adult story, but this thing has so much local flavor it’s hard to not like. The English is Bisaya (yes, there’s a difference from the way Tagalogs speak and write English), even in its missteps in syntax. The ‘lugar lang’ (the Iloilo version of ‘para’) sequence is nice.

The competence of the art, in its being manga-style, is also incredible. The level is at par with the likes of Columbia Kho, plus with very intact sense of paneling and pacing. Its detail work is impressive. The shifts between serious and Ƨhibi is nearly flawless, and still local.

This comic has also one achievement: it made my heart skip several beats after seeing Ajussi and Ruwan. The last time any indie did this, it was Mark 9:47’s roster of angels. This means: the author did the bishonen right. It’s in seeing so many weak attempts by now that I finally understand. One does not simply create a cute drawing and declare that a bishonen is made. There is a pacing and crafting of the characterization leading to a panel that makes the females swoon over your guy. When done wrongly or poorly, you still don’t have a bishonen that makes pulses race. You just have a cute fellow. Katunga has at least one bishonen and one nice cutie.

The book publication process ran into some problems, as the art was drawn up to the margins, so some of the art was cut. This is a problem easy to fix with the printer.

Among the manga-style komiks, it stands a head above many. Among komiks in general, it’s a great addition to the numbers, and solid fact that the indie age is a national thing, and not an NCR-restricted one.

Pilandokomiks: Ang Tatlong Sumpa (borg sinaban) [anino] [adarna house]

Meanwhile, Adarna House is also getting in on the act that Visprint has started. In their case they’re trying to make komiks for kids. One of these is the Pilandokomiks, which is a komiks version of the Pilandok stories originally by Virgilio Almario and Kora Dandan-Albano. But Borg Sinaban seems to have been given free rein in how to present the stories. Ang Tatlong Sumpa is the first release.

Easy-going and confident but nicely helpful Pilandok takes on the case: the forest animals of Dantaong Gubat ask his help against a greedy logger chopping down too many of their trees. Pilandok personally tries his trickster strategy into scaring the logger out of doing so, by giving three curses. The process is interesting and funny.

Immediately you can see one important advantage of cooperating with a major publisher: the chance to go full-color and not at personal expense. The comic is happily colorful in a nice simple way that will definitely appeal to older-elementary children. It also presents the author’s clean art lines and paneling quite nicely, better than if the story stayed in black-and-white.

The story is also paced very well, taking proper advantage of the page count while taking consideration of the younger audience. The dialogue is therefore just right, without long wordy speech balloons, but also without insulting the intelligence of the young readership.

Adarna’s nod to the current indie-komik movement is also appreciated. Pilandokomiks is presented in the size we’re now familiar with for local comics: a booklet with 8 1/2 x 13 inch-size paper folded in the middle. It’s a nice size for kids, and it’s also a size most komikeros are now familiar with using.

Overall it’s a nice get especially if you have kids around. Do support and get it if you can, because it’s only in supporting do we give the local publishers incentive for better exposure of komiks in general.

Animen: The Lightning (mendoza/valiente) [black ink]

While the debate rages whether we do have a komiks industry back or we just have Komikons, some komikeros, part of both the industry age and the indie age, have been finding solutions to the problem. One of these is a collaboration with the publisher of the Precious Hearts Romance book line. This created Black Ink, a line of affordable small-book-length komiks. The goal, of course, is to show that a new age has come, but still maintain good prices that anyone interested can get without breaking banks. If you’re thinking that it looks like the PHR books, or that they are exclusively mushy romantic stuff, both are wrong assumptions. This book is a good example. Since I’m not particularly a fan of the vampire genre, I gave this one a try for starters.

No one was expected to survive a horrific plane crash induced by manananggal, but six people did. One of them is Lawrence, and he survives it like nothing happened. But soon he starts changing for the weird, and becomes something like a bird-man. He also starts seeing creatures he doesn’t know, and gets involved with fighting them, against his will or comprehension.

As a product of a writer and an illustrator who come from the old and the new, this is a good combination of the knowledge from both. There is a professionalism here and a presence of the classic-komiks style that is impressive. There is also an understanding of the newer forms of paneling and presentation, as well as great use of current technology. This results in a product familiar to those used to classic-komiks, but will also draw in those familiar with the indie age.

The pacing dragged a bit in some places, as they slowed down to take advantage of the higher number of pages, but this is not a major complaint. Generally this was used so we could better understand the character and his circumstance. The story is also not directly aimed at a ‘masa’ audience, and this may or may not work to their advantage.

Overall one can only wish success for the Black Ink line, such as more and diverse titles. It’s a good idea, and I do hope it helps spark the formal return of the industry.