Monday, July 23, 2012
Review: 'The Only Living Boy #1' by Steve Ellis and David Gallaher
Sometimes you run across a piece of art - a film, song, whatever - that you instantly fall in love with. It brings with it a sense of nostalgia, the wonder you found in something similar at another point in time, and at the same time realize that it's a great work in its own right. That's the kind of feeling that Steve Ellis and David Gallaher's comic The Only Living Boy gives. It will remind you of comics of yesteryear, of Saturday morning cartoons, and of fun, epic adventures you always loved reading about.
The Only Living Boy starts out with a mystery. In fact, it's all mystery. Why is Erik the "only living boy"? How? What is the fantasy world he finds himself in? Who is the dragon clinging to the top of a skyscraper, the menacing Doctor Once, or the number of creatures and warriors Erik meets along the way? There's a lot in just this first issue. We're teased with enough information to keep us interested, but with enough left to find out to keep us engaged. It's also full of action, with excellent chases and fights breaking up the character-building moments - which themselves are funny, engrossing, and smart.
To go along with the great story is the fantastic art. It reminds me in a way of Mike Wieringo's work, in that it's fun and colorful but technical and detailed enough to effectively tell the story. The fantasy landscape and characters are very well done and interesting. And, perhaps most importantly, Erik actually looks like a kid. Too many artists make children look like awkward, short adults, and in a story where being a kid is a crucial character point, it's refreshing to see this done well.
The elements of The Only Living Boy aren't necessarily unique. We've seen "normal" people lost in a fantasy world; we've seen the Kamandi-like "child in a dystopian society" story; we've seen kids taking on grownups and the establishment. However, part of the appeal of The Only Living Boy is that we have seen this before, and want to see it again. It harkens back to fun, epic, imaginative adventures, and looks to be a great addition to to this wonderful genre.
Posted by Colin Lalley