Atomic Pulp Media 2019
Written & Lettered by Christopher Mills
Pencilled by Don Secrease
Inked by Rick Burchett
Coloured by Matt Webb
A macabre menace stalks disco crime boss Marco Caine, and only the caped and cowled crimebuster known as the Black Owl can save him from “The Scream of the Silent Skull!”
I can't remember why I was on Indy Planet but that doesn't really matter because I found these comics that looked absolutely fantastic! So I contacted Christopher and we talked and now here we are with the first issue of Sleuth Comics featuring the Black Owl. The Black Owl was created in 1940 and much like Bruce Wayne he was a wealthy playboy who took up the career of a costumed crime fighter. Though the Owl was out of boredom they still have similar backgrounds and neither has superpowers but rely upon gadgets, science and his fighting prowess. Now for me personally this is what I think of as that 70's/80's revival kind of book and it's utterly spectacularly and brilliantly done.
I read this and thought hmm there's a bit of kitsch in the villains and in the Owl that reminded me of when the Caped Crusader was on the telly but it works here and what Christopher does with the writing is smartly done. The story & plot development that we see through the sequence of events unfolding and how the reader learns information is extremely well done. How we meet the characters and how that flows through the book and introduces us to other key players in the city is building a world that is starting to feel complete. The character development is superb. We get to know a bit about these folks and that leads to the interest factor being raised so we want to know more. Some back story is utilised incredibly well so that we want to know more about them. The pacing is great and how it takes us through the pages and reveals the twists and turns has this nice level of excitement attached to it. The ebb & flow is amazing and the overall structure of this book shows us that Christopher really does know his craft.
The interiors here are utterly stunning and how the look and feel is beyond expectations. I mean I feel like I am reading a book from my teenage years and that alone is worth weight in gold. The linework here is exquisite and how the varying weights are utilised to bring out the attention to detail is marvellous. The different techniques utilised here is also incredible to see. Would I like to see more backgrounds being utilised, yes but, but, they are utilised in a way to work with the composition inside the panels to show us depth perception, scale and bring a sense of size and scope to the book. I am in love with the faces here, the linework in them and how we see expressions it's just gorgeous. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is really nice to see. While it has the feel of old school colouring there are great uses of hues and tones in what we see.
This is a stunningly good book. In every way shape and form it's what we want in comics once again. Gone is the gritty dark and full of violent deaths and instead there is lightness with a kind of hope that just permeates into the readers' skin. The writing is spectacular and the interiors are damn near perfect, including the hair on his chest,and this is a modern take on a classic era in comics and it's bloody well brilliantly.
You can only get this on Indy Planet and the best part is you can digitally or physically so order copies for yourself or for your store you won't be sorry and you'll crave more.