Self Published 2017
Created & Written by Justin Phillips
Illustrated by Marcelo Salaza
Coloured by DC Alonso
Lettered by Blake Wilkie
Chronicles the adventurous life of Zakudoh Stoner, a martial arts fanatic, when he comes to the realization of his supernatural abilities and the mysterious past of his family/ bloodline.
I wish I had seen this at a convention instead of online because I bet it’s hella good to hold in your hand. I was immediately taken with the quality of the artwork when I started reading this, how strong it is and the attention to detail here. I’ve made no secret over the years how I feel about interior artwork and this is right up there with some of the best i’ve seen around.
I will say I do think that Justin has created something interesting and pretty unique here. I like the idea of the setting here. Terror Town, a Nickname given to a small violent island just off the coast of the USA. Is it part of a state, the country or is it this small little independent thing i’m not sure and to be honest i’m curious and yet not overwhelmed by not knowing. It’s one of those mythical places that don’t really exist but is the setting you need for the story to be as effective as it can be.
The way Justin tells this story is nicely done as well. We start at kind of the end of the issue and backtrack to see how it got there before moving forward again to finish the issue off. So his penchant for storytelling, pacing and structure is extremely well done. I tried looking Justin up but I can’t tell who he is so i’m going to say this is his inaugural book for me, so my first exposure to what he’s capable of. I think he’s got what it takes to really tell a fantastic story here. The characters that are introduced as well as their characterisation along with the way the story flows leave us with questions that we desire to have answered. How much does Grandma know? Who was the Doctor calling? It’s the little things that make a series stand out too like making a new friend, through mysterious circumstances and setting in motion things that he’ll have a hard time understanding.
Along with some stellar work on the interiors through the use of page layouts through their angles, perspective and even strategic use of backgrounds. The faces, facial expressions and body language do wonders in helping not only convey the emotions and feelings but continue the characterisation as well.
I’ll try to find out where you can find this as I only stumbled upon it by sheer happenstance. They do have Facebook and Instagram pages that you can head to if you have those outlets. I’m trying to find a website or a place to order physical copies and when I find that out i’ll pass it along because this is one of those books I keep telling you about. Small self-published books that show passion, desire and a love for the industry that rivals anything you’ll currently find on shelves.
The creativity and imagination on display here is marvelous and this kid is one I want to know more about and follow through this adventure he’s unexpectedly found himself in. When creators can get a reader to care this much about their work you are in for something special indeed.