Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Creator-Owned Heroes #1

This comic is a clever experiment that's part comic book, part magazine.

It does that by breaking the publication into three parts.

The first two parts are two separate comic series, each 11 pages long. The last half of Creator-Owned Heroes is a magazine, with commentaries from the writers / creators, a short interview with Neil Gaiman and photo spreads.

It's all printed on slick paper and looks very professional.

Of course, our concern here is with comics, so let's focus on parts one and two, which are designed to emulate the old Marvel "split comic" format used in mags like Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense.

The two features have very little in common, other than the fact that the stories are hard-hitting and pull no punches.

The first story is American Muscle, written by Steve Niles and drawn by Kevin Mellon. It takes us to a post-apocalyptic world where six friends are crossing what's left of the country in three cars.

It's a short and mercilessly fast read, as we get glimpses of the characters, the reason for the world's problems, and run up against a cliffhanger - and that's about it.

The art is a bit uneven, with some terrific pages, including a Cinemascope landscape shot that's impressive - but there are a few panels that are simply confusing (one references something one character is about to touch - but we never see what they're looking at).

The second story is Trigger Girl 6, written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and drawn by Phil Noto.

Where the first story is grimly real, this one is much more science fiction - in fact, it could have popped out of the pages of the old Heavy Metal magazine.

With minimal dialogue, we "meet" the title character, who suits up and - somehow - attacks a military plane in flight. What follows is a truly unique dogfight. Noto's artwork is quite good - beautiful and stylized, with a sleek SF look to everything.

Both stories feel a little slim. With only 11 pages to work with, there's not much room for a decompressed story, and both of these features seem to be taking their time.

Despite that, I enjoyed this package quite a bit. It's a unique series, and with a monthly publication schedule it should move along quickly.

Nice to tackle something creative and new. I'm looking forward to the next issue.

Grade: A-


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