Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Cover by: Joe Angelillo and Kyle Morton
Publisher: Low Key Comics
One of the best things about reviewing comics online are the opportunities I have had to chat with various creators and read books I otherwise might have missed. Especially so are the independent titles that many local comic shops never seem to carry. Better still, when I love one of these indy titles, I have a chance to spread the word and make a small difference and hopefully get a few more people to take a look.
Low Key Comics #1 presented a very interesting opportunity. Not only would I have the chance to check out a brand new anthology for a publishing venture by those starting out in the creative side of things (something I am personally working on as I write this), but I also get a chance to see first hand the quality of new printer in the industry, ComixPress. These guys are offering an extremely low cost alternative to classic printers.
The first thing that I looked for when I received the comic was the quality of the publishing. Let me tell you, this book looks as good as anything else on the shelves. You can’t really tell the difference from this book to one printed at a standard printing press. A great start for ComixPress, and a definite alternative that I may look into when my own creative stuff is ready for that stage. More importantly, it’s a solid foundation for the gentlemen behind Low Key Comics. This book looks good and that’s an important first impression.
That’s enough build up! I’m sure you want to know more about the book.
The Legend of El Rey
Story and Art by: Kyle Morton
Plot by: Kyle Morton
Considering that Steve McQueen is my favorite actor, the reference to El Rey in the title of the first story of this collection immediately piqued my interest. El Rey is from the Jim Thompson novel The Getaway, which if you’ve never seen it, is one of McQueen’s best films. El Rey is a spot in Mexico where criminals can go and settle down. El Rey also played a part in another favorite From Dusk Till Dawn. So, with my previous experiences, I was excited to see the locale explored.
The first story is also the one with the most weight in the anthology. This is a dark tale of two generations of residents in El Rey. We don’t learn too much about El Rey. Instead this is a look at the characters that inhabit the town. The story twists from modern day to thirty-three years prior. The tale is appropriately tragic and illustrates its point quite well.
Artistically, the story is sparse on background detail, but the main characters pop off the page. Since this is a character-centered story the use of minimal backgrounds works very well.
All told, this nine-page western is a solid kickoff to the anthology. At the close of the story there is the promise of a The Last Days of El Rey series. Consider me interested.
Story Title: Cat Stuck Up a Tree
Story and Art by: Justin B. Crouse
Everyman is a schmuck, it’s as simple as that. He’s a superhero that is in it for the money and nothing else. Crouse tells a brief five pager that introduces Everyman as he shakes down a little girl to get her cat out of a tree. Everyman’s only goal is to be “independently wealthy.”
It’s a simple concept, but one that comes together fairly well. Five pages is just enough time to get a proper introduction to the character of Everyman. The artwork is simple, but in a good way. It reminds me a lot of Ryan Ottley’s work on Invincible. In this day and age of superhero overload, I’m always up for an interesting new concept that pokes fun at the whole ball of wax. Crouse’s story does that remarkably well.
Story and Art by: Joe Angelillo
Story Assistance: Jason Green
Ghrey features a nice twist on space conflict. Our featured characters are two typical-looking aliens–you know big, bald heads, and saucer eyes–on a spacecraft during an interstellar conflict. Beyond their appearance, the aliens are quite similar to you and me. They’re pretty well characterized and interesting in their own right. Their ship goes down when they are attacked and crash lands on what may be Earth in the dinosaur age.
That’s really it. The characterization is good, the dialogue is strong, and the tale serves as a neat little setup. The artwork makes excellent use of grey tones and there is plenty of detail. I would have liked to see the story go a bit further.
Story and Art by: Jason Green & Joe Costello
Trio’s a premise that I’d describe as a boy named Pete, whose pal talks nonstop, so he’s got to talk to his fish. Throw in mysterious notes left on his doorstep each night that guide Pete to save individuals in distress and you’ve got a cute little story. The dialogue is well written in that Kevin Smith/Quentin Tarantino style and the artwork reminds me of Craig Thompson. Not a bad combination at all.
Story and Art by: Sean Smith & Paul John Little
This story left me flat. Following a superhero named Rocket as he chats with a female hero named Arbor in a park, we learn about Rocket’s past and why he does what he does. The town where he practices his super-heroics has become a pretty boring place. Rocket would like a little more action. When Arbor questions why Rocket is doing the hero thing, he makes an excuse and flies off. I’m not quite sure what the guys were going for with this story.
That’s not to say it’s terrible. The dialogue is good and the artwork conveys the story that’s on the page. Unlike the other stories, it didn’t seem like there was a point. I’m sure it’s setting up for a future tale featuring the characters, but, again, I’m not certain.
All told, Low Key Comics #1 is a sound debut for a brand new group of guys in the comic world. I wish more people would take a chance on books like this instead of throwing all their money away on the same old thing that Marvel and DC churns out year after year. The blood, sweat, and tears of the creators are all over this book.
Low Key Comics #1 is available from ComixPress or at the Low Key Comics website.