By Hunter T. Patrick
The Couch is something special to me as it is my very first truly Indie comic ever read. When I came aboard Comic Bastards, this comics name kept attracting me, and I finally decided to try this title. I am very glad I did. There are several things that make this issue work, and the first is diversity. Diversity is an interesting word and in comics is controversial when looking at mainstream books. You cannot help but notice how white everyone is, and there has been a lot of times (especially in recent years) where white characters are replaced by minorities. Neither makes everyone happy as when everyone is white is was natural for the time, but not anymore, and when a white character is forced out for diversity, there is nothing natural about it. This book firmly places diversity in a natural way, not everyone is coincidently white, or coincidently not-white. It seemed like a minor background thing, and whether on purpose or not, the diversity that was included felt natural right from the first issue.
Diversity is not the selling point for this book for me, but instead, it is mental health. These characters are not necessarily going to always be portrayed as mentally stable, and that is what makes this book more real than the diversity. The setting of a psychiatrist’s office needs to show mental health, and this comic does not shy from it. One character introduced is diagnosed for the reader and shows the true monster of this piece, regular people being true comic bastards. Kids being bullies is one thing but showing grown adults as such is all the more heartbreaking for the realism. A scene showing their simple jokes to the protagonist’s patient in this issue was more heartbreaking to me than reading of money troubles or actual supervillains also in this issue.
This comic feels realistic in many ways, and it also makes sure it knows it is a comic and not utilize it. There are superbeings in this issue, but more so background. It exists in a world where superheroes exist, and unlike other works with a concept like that, it does not make the superbeings a focus. Instead, it naturally fits them into the narrative. The plotting is great with the story and writing in honest and witty.
The artwork is wonderful. It features great use of colors, and the characters have a unique look to them that distinguishes them from other comic titles. My biggest problem with this issue is the artwork on bodies does not always seem consistent as especially hands seem to change shape panel by panel. I do not know if that was intentional for a very genuine intelligent reason I cannot grasp or unintentional. If that is the biggest problem with such great art and a great book, then that is not bad at all. Go get this book if you can find it and help support the creators for a book that deserves to be on shelves everywhere and not just a couch somewhere.
The Couch #1