6 November 2014

I've fallen in love with Tooth And Claw already

This is another good example when lots of digital things came together to my great benefit.

Digital comics have become important to me, more so than the paper ones now, because of the ease of discovery, purchase and reading. Playing a big role in this are Image Comics and I now read seven of their titles regularly, which is about the same number that I read from Marvel.

One of the many ease of use features of digital comics is that I can browse new titles on my iPad from the comfort of my armchair or bed. All of the big brands (Image, Marvel, Vertigo, etc.) have their own stores that show new issues and then there is ComiXology which shows all those and the smaller brands (e.g. Oni Press, Boom!) too. Finding new comics to read has never been easier.

Of course that does not mean that everything is perfect and it is still quite possible to miss good book, the cover and summary description are not always enough to tell you what you need to know. For example it took me a while to plunge into Sage and I also overlooked Tooth and Claw initially.

The main way that I find new comics to read is via recommendations on Twitter. I follow several people in the comics and most of the main brands who are very good, understandably, at retweeting good reviews that they get. It was a Tweet linking to a review that made me buy Tooth and Claw #1.

I had looked at it briefly when it came out and the author's name, Kurt Busiek, lept out at me as I had loved his run on Marvel's The Avengers at the turn of the century that had ended with the Kang Dynasty saga, but that was not enough at the time ot make me add another title to my reading list. Then the review came and I bought the first issue.

Tooth and Claw is beautiful.

It is a full-blown fantasy story in the swords and sorcery vein (mostly sorcery so far) with animalistic characters.

In the introductory forty four pages we are introduced to a new world facing a major problem and a host of characters. The problem is that magic is fading and ambitions plans are made to bring it back but these go wrong and everything changes.

The story sets off a lot of threads and seems to have ambitions of being as complex and compelling as Game of Thrones, and it has the advantage of being able to invent more fantastical things as it is not constrained by physical places and people.

I was quickly hooked to the story by its freshness and I fell in love with it because of Ben Dewey's art. You can see for yourself just how good it is. I love the detail that he puts in and the way that he constructs his pages. The story flows at the right pace and in the right direction. It's an effortless and pleasant read, as it should be.

The rest of the team play their parts well too. Jordie Bellaire's colours give depth and mood to the art. This one example shows the first, not the later which is achieved by applying different washes to different panels. John Roshell's lettering is clear and unobtrusive, and I like the way that it is in mixed case rather than the uppercase that is the rule in superhero comics.

Everything about this comic is fantastic and I am completely hooked.

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