Disclaimer: What I’m about to say is not a negative comment… seriously. I can’t think of another series that has pissed me off more in recent memory than Dry Spell. The reason being that when I read the last page I wanted to read more. Nay, I needed to read more and I couldn’t. I don’t want to wait to read the second issue… I greedily want more of it now. It was that fantastic.
We begin with a black page and white narration. On one corner there is a white blob of paint and in the counter-corner there’s a blue gradient that looks like the dawn breaking through the night. The narration has no context, but is interesting and after reading the first issue you’ll understand it better the second time through. After that we see a news report of the hero Apollo saving a plane. After the usual news hype machine runs its course we find Tom sitting at his work desk watching the footage of Apollo and studying it in detail. We follow Tom through his day as he tells a co-worker that Apollo rubs him the wrong way. Tom heads home to find his girlfriend doing laundry at his place and upset that he didn’t bring home dryer sheets. You know your relationship sucks when dryer sheets can piss your significant other off so much.
Later that night Tom stands out in his garage looking at a blank canvas. The narration is wonderful as Tom tells us how he came to stand in front of the blank canvas unable to paint anything on it night after night for over a year. It’s a simple opening that manages to give the reader great insight into how Tom lives his life.
The next day at work we meet a co-worker of Tom’s as he receives a strange phone call. The next thing we know he’s over at Tom’s desk introducing himself. His name is Wally and he’s in human resources and he needs Tom’s help on a presentation… at least that’s what he says in order to get Tom away from his desk. After the door closes to Wally’s office he informs Tom that he “knows who he is.” Tom plays dumb or maybe he’s actually confused, but the back and forth goes on for a bit until Wally pulls out a file that’s on Tom and throws it across the desk at him. In the file we see Tom… but he’s dressed like a cape.
This story starts off innocently enough. It really does come across as just some dude living a mundane life, but when the curve hits its very shocking. The rest of the issue manages to provide more twists and turns several of which I haven’t spoiled for you. Creator Ken Krekeler crafts a story that grabs your attention with each page. As I said I was frustrated by the fact that I only had one issue to read. I really, really want to see where the story goes from here.
Tom’s character is very mysterious. He comes across as a normal dude, but there’s a lot of mystery surrounding him. What was his gimmick/powers? Why did he really quit? The writing and plot plotting are some of the best from a single issue I’ve read all year.
Krekeler is not just the writer/creator, but he’s also the artist as well. I think it’s a rare talent that can tell a story both in the writing/narrative and then with the art/visuals and Krekeler is that talent. I can name a dozen writer/artists off the top of my head, but very few would I place into the “talented at both” column.
His character designs and overall artistry is solid, but his layouts, coloring and text is where Krekeler really shines. The text in particular plays a big role as Tom in a way has two personalities talking. One of the personalities is aware of the Tom we meet, but that one doesn’t fully acknowledge the other voice. It’s one of the many examples I could give about how important lettering is for comics. There’s an incredible page just after Wally says “You’re wel-cooome!!” (which was awesome lettering by the way) that if you buy the issue you should read at least a couple of times. It’s a wonderful chemistry of story, art and lettering working hand-in-hand.
I can’t recommend this book enough. I checked out the print version, but also the guided view version on Comixology. Both were great and while they gave different reading experiences I actually liked that. At this point in the year I’m already making mental check lists for our end of the year list. Right now, I can’t think of a better single issue than this debut issue of Dry Spell. I am counting down the days for the next issue and have a good feeling that this series is going to surprise a lot of people. Check it out because it’s not to be missed.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Ken Krekeler Publisher: Danger Zone/Action Lab Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/28/14 Format: Print/Digital