Paper Cuts: 05.03.2017: Albatross Funny Books
By Ryan “HB” Mount
Albatross Funny Books is the creative endeavor of Goon creator, Eric Powell. The indie publisher relaunched in 2016 with Powell’s written and drawn books Hillbilly and SSBII (aka Satan’s Sodomy Baby 2). The line has already grown and this week we got three books from the publisher.
‘Namwolf #1 (Albatross)
Back in December, we reviewed Bad Moon Rising by 451 Media. It was an average book, but what I wanted more than anything from that title was just to give us a story of a werewolf running around during the Vietnam War. Although that book did not deliver fully on that front, this week, we were treated to that basic premise in ‘Namwolf #1.
While most folks might look at Logan Farber’s art and wonder if it is a good fit for a horror genre book, pick up Jeff Lemire’s The Underwater Welder, which was a creept tale of madness. There is no doubt that people will draw parallels between Farber and Lemire’s work as they share some style notes, but Farber goes for a simpler line structure than Lemire’s scratchy line work. Looking from panel to panel, you will notice not a lot of detail in the backgrounds and that could be very deliberate. This is without a doubt a character driven piece and the art drives that home.
The writing from Fabian Rangel Jr. was well executed and overall fun to read. One thing that came through with his overall writing was how well he works with his artist and knows when to let the art tell certain parts of the story. The best part of this working chemistry is on display with a half-page six panel introduction to the Army team. It felt like reading the back of an old GI Joe figure and was solid fun.
This issue could have been a stand-alone one shot and still would have been great, but the story is advanced with the final three pages to keep you tuned until the next issue.
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5
Spookhouse #4 (Albatross)
The tag line above the title says this book is “scary stories fit for kids” and it says it all.
This ongoing horror anthology is on par with any other collection of short stories being published in comics.
The first tale written by Eric Powell is great, but the art work by Steve Mannion is reminiscent of Bernie Wrightston and Richard Corben. Exposing younger readers to this type of art in this context is only going to add to appreciation later down the line for the masters of horror comics and books like Scary Stories.
The other two tales are bright and vivid with art that is easy on the eyes for any reader. While none of the tales are going to lead to long conversations and thought discussions afterwards, they are above all entertaining. There is the perfect amount of all ages humor and scares.
This may be the best issue in the entire series.
Ratings: 4 out of 5
Hillbilly #6 (Albatross)
If there was a week that spoke to me as a comics fan, this would be it.
This issue of Hillbilly tells us the story of how our hero became friends with a bear. We could stop there and I would probably give this book a fantastic rating.
However, not everyone is as easily as tickled as I am with that premise, so luckily there is plenty of other things to draw in any reader to enjoy.
The art is simply incredible. If you have never picked up a book by Eric Powell, then what are you doing reading comics? His art style is all his own. His work is incredibly beautiful and perfectly suited for a book about a wondering ax wielding hillbilly.
Powell is great on story telling as well because whether this be your first issue of the series or you have been reading since the beginning, each tale is fresh and new and all a jumping on point, while still telling a larger narrative.
Ratings: 5 out of 5
If you like what you read make sure to like it and share it. What are you reading right now? What would you like to see us reviewing? Make sure to reach us at @hebruise and @horror_writers