Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indie Comic Treasures; Review of Footprints #2

I've heard some people complaining recently that comic books have become too mainstream, and that they're considered "cool" now. I'm confused as to how this is something to complain about. More people reading comics means there's more money for creators, artists and publishers. It means that there are not only more from the big two (Marvel and DC), but from the indie creators as well. How is this a bad thing? Please, explain.

Anyway, with that off my chest, I finally got to read my personal favorite indie comic's second installment. For those who haven't been following Joey Esposito and Jonathan Moore's Kickstarter project, Footprints, I'm happy to announce that it was fully funded and even got picked up by publishing company, 215 Ink. You would be hard pressed to find a better example of two hard working guys living the comic book dream.

If you didn't catch my review of Footprints #1, you can find that here. When we last left Mr. Foot, his brother, Yeti had been mysteriously murdered, and he had assembled his crack team of cryptids to get to the bottom of it.

Book 2 is more of a back story book than an action book. In it, Bigfoot talks more about his brother, and why they had become estranged. It may not surprise you to learn that a woman is at the heart of that issue. The dangerously beautiful Motheresa (yes, a moth woman, with wings and antennae) comes to the Foot Bros. (that's the name of their P.I. biz) with an urgent problem, much larger in scale than anything the brothers had previously taken on. Yeti is instantly enthralled by Motheresa and is eager to help her. Foot, however, stays wary of the siren and her plea.

Some people might stop here and say something about how the "dame in distress" routine is played out, predictable and cliche. They may even venture to accuse Esposito of not being creative enough in his story. Well, they would be dead wrong. The entire point of Footprints is that it's a classic crime noir tale. While Esposito and Moore have turned the genre on its head, they haven't done that by means of the story line itself. Joey and Jon have upset the noir style by inserting cryptid creatures in as the main (and supporting) characters. The familiar style of story telling gives readers a foothold in the book. Having a familiar element in an otherwise unfamiliar world makes this book something anyone would enjoy, not just those into Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

Let me put it this way; there are a group of people who live in my town that go out every year, searching for Bigfoot. They have Bigfoot calls, traps and all that jazz. It's not my thing. Footprints, however, is completely my thing.

As with Footprints one, Jonathan Moore has completely outdone himself as far as the artwork is concerned. The style is stark, inky and mysterious. There's something to be said about an artists who can replicate a style of drawing nearly forgotten and yet still retain his own individuality. Even in black and white, there is emotion, movement, and when there's a puddle of blood on the ground, it is most definitely blood, and not another mysterious substance. Personally, I'm amazed by artists who can communicate whatever they wish to without the use of color, just skill alone.

While we see all the characters from book one (along with some new ones) I feel like Megalodon is the one who really shines. His part in the book is a small one, but definitely the most present; and not just because he's a giant shark who wears a mask.

Nessy's information gathering technique is to sleep with her targets. As Don's girlfriend, you can imagine how well he takes this. Unlike Nessy, Don is confined to the water, which is a constant source of frustration for him, as he's often left to guard the headquarters. The rest of the crew assume that he's alright with this, because, well, he can't really follow them on land.

We see being treated like a glorified guard dog wearing on Don in book one, but it comes to a head in book two as, at the end, he's left to guard the headquarters once more. As Foot and Nessy rush off after a disturbing phone call, Don's monster nature gets the better of him. We're left to imagine what kind of horrors come next, as Don breaks through the glass that separates him from his colleagues, looses the mask, and grins a terrible grin. I thought it quite exhilarating to see the animal nature come out of the terrible creature.

That's what the cryptid crew of Footprints is doing, after all. Fighting the nature of the beasts they are. Trying to fit in with humans who are so much more fragile than they are. I look forward to seeing which proves more lethal in the coming story; the nature of the beast, or the nature of man. In the case of Motheresa, who seems to be the villain to watch, she possesses physically and mentally the nature of both man and beast. Which of the two makes her a villain? I am eager to find out.

Those who backed the Kickstarter project, you'll be getting at the least digital versions of Footprints #1-4. For those who are just hearing about this marvelous series, go right now to your local comic book store and tell them you'd like them to order Footprints from 215 Ink. As with most indie and creator owned comic books, the writers and artists depend very heavily on their fans to get word out. You can also find more information on 215 Ink's website. If you're heading to Long Beach Comic Con, or Comikaze Expo the writer, Joey Esposito will be at 215 Ink's booth, selling and signing copies of Footprints. Stop by and tell him hello!

As always, thanks for reading.


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