Monday, April 20, 2009

Review: Archie Snow - the First Fifteen Hours

Like the previous entry, this is about something I picked up at the Emerald City Comic Con - the latest Archie Snow mini-comic by fellow Canadian Kelly Tindall.

I reviewed the first mini-comic back on my old blog so it seemed right to continue the tradition (look for the next Archie Snow mini-comic in 2011 on Section 247). In the two years since then Kelly has become a contributor to Image's Proof, where he often tells an Archie Snow tale in the back pages. When I saw Kelly was selling the new mini at Seattle I was all too eager to take it; it was going for $2, so I gave Kelly a twoonie. "Where am I supposed to spend this?" he griped.

Kelly hasn't revealed a great deal about Archie in his stories up until now, but it's pretty easy to grasp what the character is - he's part man, part cat and he fights monsters. It's not so far removed from Hellboy (or Proof); I even noticed some Mike Mignola-like lines in the first mini-comic.

The First Fifteen Hours tells "the true story of the first fifteen hours of the life of Archie Snow." So, there are answers to be found here for those who seek them, but with only 8 pages there's a limit to how much can be told. If you aren't up to speed on Kelly's previous Archie Snow stories then I don't know what you'll make of this - it might as be written in Sanskrit for the uninitiated. Archie's origin is recounted but in a cryptic, non-linear fashion. If you've read the most recent Archie Snow serial in Proof, you'll get more out of the story.

Of course, even if you can't follow the story there's the art to consider. Kelly's influences seem less obvious to me now (though when Archie squints his eyes he could almost pass for Usagi Yojimbo). Some of his human faces look dodgy here (not usually a problem with his art), but most of the 8 pages are concerned with Archie - who looks fantastic - and the monsters he fights, which are all rather interesting and visually diverse considering how quickly they're dispatched.

As an artist's showcase, this is worth the $2.

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