By Ben Boruff
Forget what you think you know about Bigfoot. Co-creators Josh Eckert and Kevin Olvera have created a world in which Bigfoot has a family, a tribe, and a sordid past. Interestingly, however, the popular sasquatch does not make much of an appearance in the first two issues of this comic. Bigfoot appears only as a pastel flashback in this otherwise vivid tale. Instead of celebrating the usual mysteries of the traditionally North American cryptid, Eckert and Olvera amplify the conventional legends to create a broader, more touching story about family and identity—a story that really isn’t about Bigfoot at all. This story is about Bigfoot’s son, Iseq, and his quest to find the truth about his father. Eckert and Olvera offer a brief nod to popular Bigfoot-related folklore in the first couple pages of the first issue—Iseq is seen gazing at several hazy photos of his father—but the co-creators quickly shift the story away from sketchy sasquatch sightings and instead focus on introducing the reader to Iseq and his surroundings. Iseq’s world is filled with clans of sasquatches, and all sasquatches learn one thing as children: beware of “the flip,” a moment when, on parts of the planet, the gravity shifts. When this happens, everything not rooted to the ground falls into the sky. Whether intentionally or not, Son of Bigfoot’s “flip” is an apt metaphor for the co-creators’ approach to Bigfoot: the traditional conversations about sasquatch sightings and habitats are turned upside down. Instead of viewing Bigfoot through a distant, obscure, us-versus-him lens, readers are introduced to the infamous humanoid through the actions and questions of his adventurous and unapologetically curious son.
In spite of these deviations from popular myth, however, the story still manages to capture the spirit of our cryptozoological fascination with Bigfoot. As a curious explorer, Iseq seems to embody the collective curiosity of all real-life individuals who believe that Bigfoot exists. The history of Iseq’s father is shrouded in mystery, and the first issue of the comic suggests that the son of Bigfoot will make at least part of his journey alone, a situation to which some passionate Bigfoot believers might relate.
Son of Bigfoot’s artwork is both subtle and captivating. Many panels show only a face or two, which highlights the fact that, at its core, this story seems to be about identity and relationships. But occasionally the perspective shifts, and readers see larger areas of Iseq’s planet, a world filled with sturdy trees, twinkling stars, and seemingly luminescent creatures. The planet’s forested areas are a modest combination of Endor and Avatar’s Pandora. The comic’s flashback scenes (which occupy several pages in the second issue) are filled with muted colors, and the sketches seem rougher, much like actual memory.
Son of Bigfoot has enough narrative strength and artistic originality to captivate most readers. I do wonder, though, how long the adventurous-son-searching-for-mysterious-father storyline will last. This plotline has a definite end. At some point, the questions surrounding Iseq’s father must be answered, and I do not how the narrative will progress once they are. However, as many sons and daughters have learned, children are not embodiments of their parents’ mistakes, so perhaps this story is more about Iseq’s ability to shape an identity of his own. Maybe his struggle with his father’s demons is simply part of a larger journey toward self-discovery.
Son of Bigfoot #1 and #2
Writer: Josh Eckert
Artist: Josh Eckert and Kevin Olvera
Publisher: Son of Bigfoot Comics (self-published)