Sometimes I'm worried I'm jaded.
It's easy as a comic critic, because fuck does a lot of stuff out there seem to suck. And as someone who also creates, I know the work it takes, the monumental art power that has to churn every week into this industry, remembering that quote 'somebody died to create the worst thing you ever saw'. How easy it is for the critic, to stand and dismiss in a few pithy half-baked paragraphs the work of so many. Maybe I am jaded. Maybe nothing satisfies me. Maybe I'm the bad guy.
And then I read something like 'Castlevania V' and think: oh wait, comics can actually be fucking cool and maybe it's comics that aren't 'Castlevania V' that just actually suck.
'Castlevania V' is a fancomic, a loose tribute to the iconic Konami franchise about the eternal struggle of the mortal Belmont family's eternal struggle against that immortal buzzkill Dracula. The comic, which envisions a younger inheritor to the Belmont buttkicking throne, takes a skateboard trip through Dracula castle, thrashing evil with radical 90's Kid flair and sick kickflips, brah.
This comic is only 14 pages of actual art, and it's one of the best indie things I've enjoyed in a while, reading like a dumb 13-year-old kid, jittery from shotgunning too many fistfuls of Gummi Worms. Writer Dave Scheidt doesn't so much tribute the style or story of the 'Castlevania' games but rather what it feels like to play them, which is a weirdly more loving tribute than some meticulous nostalgic reconstruction. The comic's greatest screaming success is artist Sean Mac's linework, rough, psychotic, and surprisingly excellently stylized considering the intentionally hasty looking technique. It's a wicked blast and a lot of artists try and fail to be as off the cuff cool as Mac's art comes across here. Praise is due also to Aaron Pittman's bright and perfectly matched colors, balancing flats and very mild texturing to make the book pop where most would have left Mac's linework stand on its own. Pittman's colors don't just organize the chaos, it enhances it.
Books like this slap my mopey critic face and remind me that whenever reading another shit IDW licensed comic has got me down that some team of nerds with inkstains under their fingernails are doing something cool with paper and pens. Maybe I am jaded, but the only cure for that is reading kickass comics that restore your faith in the medium, even if the story is just some punk fucking up a vampire's day with a holy water filled super soaker. So if you feel the swamp of suck swallowing you down and making you wonder if anyone has unique artistic perspective anymore, join me. I found something cool you should read.
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Castlevania V: A Tribute Comic Writer: Dave Scheidt Artist: Sean Mac Self-Published Price: Pay What You Want
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