I'm not a big comic book guy, simply because waiting a week or a month to find out the next part of a story just drives me nuts. Heck, I can't even handle waiting a day for one of those serial comic strips in the newspaper.
That said, I'm a big fan of the art style, I've learned How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way
, I've read a few of Scott McCloud's books on comics as well. That, and I'm currently in the middle of Batman: The Brave and the Bold
, a really fun comic inspired TV series.
That's all prelude to my getting the chance to review Gentleman Baby's Hit!
, Issue 1. But first, some backstory. Potentially, admittedly, unnecessary backstory.
For those who may come to this review not knowing, I'm the video producer for the award winning podcast Never Not Funny
(plug complete). The producers of Gentleman Baby comics are fans of Never Not Funny
, and named their company after what NNF host Jimmy Pardo referenced his son Oliver as: The Gentleman Baby.
To further belabor the backstory here, I'm a part of PopCultureBeast.com because editor and owner Garon Cockrell is the "intern" on Never Not Funny
. Turns out he and I are both fans of board games, and that discussion led me to ask him if he wanted a new writer, he said yes, and now I'm sure he regrets it, but is too nice to admit it.
And so that led to Mr. Pardo suggesting that, when we received the first copies of Hit!
Issue #1, that I do a review. With blessings from Mr. Cockrell, the die was cast, and here it is. The review, not the die.
It's pretty darn good.
What, you wanted more? Wasn't all of the setup enough? Ok, fine.
|"Why do you get a cool mask?"|
I really did like this. First, addressing my major comics gripe - length. While the story doesn't come to a conclusion, I felt like I got enough story that I wasn't being short-changed by the format. Comparing this to a weekly crime series (which is apt, since this is a story about a hit man), I'd say we get about 1/5 of an episode's worth of story. That's not bad, and although I'd still prefer the whole thing at once, it isn't driving me nuts. The authors Craig Schroeder (story) and Daniel Hooker (art) do a good job of giving enough meat while still having a cliffhanger.
|A good example of the art style and|
Overall, the art is very good. It's computer finished, with the benefits and limitations that implies, and by and large the characters are well differentiated, even through flashbacks and time jumps. The color palette is pretty spare - it appears that they are using red, green and black color plates (as opposed to the usual CMYK typical in full color printing). If that's a compromise for cost, it works; the colors are simultaneously washed out and rich, if that makes sense. But even if it isn't, it lends a good tone for the overall story. The panels and speech bubbles are well laid out. This isn't breaking any ground, but is effective.
|This sample from the Kickstarter they|
had to raise funds is pretty close to
the final page in the actual book.
That's not to say I don't have a few nitpicks. First, the cover is a little plain. It gets the idea across well enough, but it seems to me there were more exciting ways to entice the reader as to what's inside. I'm also not a fan of the font chosen for the "handwritten" portions of the text. Back in the day, a letterer would hand draw the text; I don't get the sense that's happening here, and that's not a dig. Why hand write letters outside of the "Kablam!" and "Smash!" sound effects? I just think the writing font could have been clearer. There was also a page where a villain is yelling about crime he is planning while talking to his accomplice in a public park. I kind of thought that could have had a consequence. And finally, there is one page, one with flashbacks, where a little more explanation could have gone a long way, especially considering how pivotal the content is to the story (why do we hate the guy with glasses?).
Those little items aside, this is a good first effort. It has a strong, engaging story, well presented, and I am interested to know what happens next. When you get to issue #10, send them along, and I'll be happy to read #2-10 to find out.
Gentlemen Baby Comics
$5 print, $3 digital PDF
8 out of 10 medallions.