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“When Magic rules the worlds, a lucky few are born with great power.

The rest of us… have to steal it!


Issue 1

Writer: Rich Douek

Penciller/Inker: Brett Barkley

Colorist: Jules Rivera

Publisher: IDW

“This was easier than I thought it would be… didn’t even have to pick the lock.”

“Well, that’s the thing with these wizards… they spend a fortune warding themselves against every spell in creation… then forget something as mundane as locking a window.”

In a not-so-distant future New York City, Cinder’s having a bad day.  After raiding a wizard’s stash, he’s got the last piece of a spell that could fix his connection to magic… only as a non-magic-user, he can’t cast it.  And just when he and his goblin friend Blacktooth figure out a plan, they run afoul of the The Morgue, who has sent the pint-sized Shiver and her hired muscle, the Ghost Boys, to bring Cinder in, dead or… well…

Gutter Magic is one of those rare books that gets it right, right out of the gate:  part Fantasy, part noir, it weaves elements of both in and out with nimble ease.   Cinder dresses like a steampunk hero, while Blacktooth sports a classic Sam Spade trenchcoat, a barmaid tells Cinder to forget his tab cause dead men can’t pay their bills, and it all comes down to who can outspend the others.

Writer Rich Douek has built his fantasy world on the bones of the world we know, and dropped just enough tantalizing clues as to how it got that way to keep readers enticed for more.  Imp and demon inhabited markets huddle in the shadow of the floating top of the decapitated Chrysler Building, and the Ghost Boys are right out of something dreamed up for Gangs of New York.

Douek’s story serves as a smart blueprint for artist Brett Barkley’s deft pencils and inks, filling the foregrounds and backgrounds with clever and interesting details that only add to the completeness of this world with a cinematic grace.  Colorist Jules Rivera wields his steampunk palette with great aplomb, adding a lushness to Barkley’s pencils and inks that most books sorely lack.  With their combined efforts, this book comes off as a fully-realized three-dimensional world (Check out their stellar depictions of battle magic early in the book!)

Smart.  Original.  Entertaining.  With only four issues, you’re going to have to savor this book for a while, but you won’t regret ponying up the cover price.  You’re getting in on the ground floor of what looks to be a great tale!

“Time to settle up.  Again.”

“We’re off to the Market.  Just tell Mary to put I on our tab.”

“You don’t have a tab, anymore.  New policy.  Absolutely no credit for people who are going to be dead before the week’s out.

VERDICT:       FIVE  Stolen Wizard’s Scrolls out of FIVE

This review was first published at Fanboycomics.net. Check out their site and if you like it, check out their podcasts or sign up for their newsletter (a daily highlight of the best in geek news). 


REVIEW: Welcome to Showside – Issue 1


Creator/Writer/Artist:  Ian McGinty
Publisher:              Z2 Comics

“And that’s the tru-for-real story of why weeping willows don’t grow in Showside.”
“Kit, dude, there no way that story’s even based on something real – much less the reason some crybaby tree doesn’t grow in town… If you believe that I got an island to sell you in outer space.”
“I’m not falling for that again, Belle!”

Writer-Creator-Artist Ian McGinty premieres his new original tale, Welcome to Showside with an ambitious opening.

Warring for centuries, two great armies battle on and on, with a secret in their midst: the daughter of the Yellow King has fallen in love with the son of the Yellow King. But because of their loyalty, they battled each other as enemies, save for the one night they came together as lovers… until they were discovered by the Yellow King.

Or so we’re told by the precocious demon-kid Kit to Belle and Moon, his best friends in the whole wide world of Showside, a bright and colorful Saturday morning TV show of a dream. Combining disparate elements as disparate as German heroic legends and a world referencing the giddy daffiness of SpongeBob SquarePants Bikini Bottom, McGinty gives us a new kind of hero in the green-skinned, puce-haired Kit, dedicated to keeping the town of Showside safe from the monsters and demons that attack it.

But Kit is hiding a secret, one directly related to the legends of old, and one that may wreak havoc on everyone is this wild candy-colored town.

McGinty’s all-ages/horror, one-stop shop of a book manages to both entice and delight readers, and he captures the daffy ping-pong attention short-attention span conversations of his little trio with amazing verisimilitude. Deep conversations are cut short by the need for a Beef N Dog Waffle Taco. Combat skills are gleaned from a hand-held video game. A magic portal is admired just before things “get monstery.”

Creator McGinty makes no secret that he wants everyone to feel free to play in his sandbox. The opening 5 pages of the book, detailing the battle of the two armies is lushly drawn by S.M Vidaurri, and provides a cunning counterpoint to the pop-candy world to follow.

With an animated cartoon series in the works, Welcome to Showside #1 is a brilliant entry into the mind of a creator obviously just raring to make a huge splash in the all-ages market, and this is a great start.

Moon: “Wouldn’t it be so awesome if it was a true story, though?”
Kit: “Hm?”
Moon: “Yeah, I mean not so much a mad demon king bent on destruction, but a whole ‘nother world of magical people in it, like The Light! You know, beautiful and noble. But strong and rad, that sort of thing. Like that girl from the stor-“

Verdict: FOUR Candy-Colored Dark Inheritances out of FIVE.

This review was first published at Fanboycomics.net. Check out their site and if you like it, check out their podcasts or sign up for their newsletter (a daily highlight of the best in geek news).