The thing that stood out the most to me about Welcome to Showside #1 was that I liked it. I don’t usually get into books like this. Other publishers like BOOM! Studios have cultivated a market with titles similar to Welcome to Showside and I just haven’t been able to enjoy or appreciate any of them. Maybe it’s because Welcome to Showside isn’t based off an existing property or maybe it’s the fact that it doesn’t come off as pretentious. Instead, it feels like a creator having fun with his creation. But I don’t feel excluded. I don’t feel like I’m too old to get it or appreciate it or worse, that I’m not “cool” enough like some of the other series tend to come off like. Welcome to Showside, does exactly what the title says and “welcomes” you to the world and comic.
Interestingly enough the narrator is different for this issue. We meet Belle’s little brother Toulouse Stone or T’ouse as Belle calls him. He’s a nerdy looking kid, but he introduces us to Belle’s life. It’s a clever way of introducing her because she’s not the type of character to do that. By having Toulouse tell us about their father being a monster hunter and that they’re not supposed to hang out with monsters, it allows Ian McGinty to keep Belle’s character intact. At least for now. It keeps her consistent so she can grow later when this division in thought will likely need to be dealt with.
McGinty also uses Toulouse to introduce more of Showside’s plot. It’s a world in which good monsters obtain visas to work and live with humans. It’s the only place like that since there are many port+als leading to different worlds. The rest of the issue is spent dealing with a monster that has snuck into Showside and taken over the body of a bully. The backup story was also amusing and worth reading. It’s short so I’m not going to spoil it, but I will say that it involves ghosts and hot chocolate.
With an ensemble cast, the characters are very important. They need to be unique from one another and while you don’t have to like all of them, you should like most of them. Kit is easy to like. He gets made fun of because he’s not the quickest thinker, but he’s got a great design and a fun personality. Belle is a brawler and Moon is a nerdy witch. But then there’s Teenomicon… my absolute favorite character. He’s pretty great in this issue. He has a bit of exposition, but it works because he has a teenage know-it-all attitude. Overall, McGinty crafts some wonderful characters, both existing and new. He paces the story just right and while they’ve fought two monsters in a row now, the way it happened and the circumstances have been different making it enjoyable to read.
The art continues to be great. McGinty has a great style that is very animated looking. Point in case, there’s a short animation for Showside that is worth checking out. The voice acting is spot on and brings the characters to life in a new way. Otherwise, the art is dynamic first and foremost. The action and the physical humor really pop off the page. The humor is there too. Physical humor in a comic is difficult, but McGinty gets it and really makes it work here. The coloring is tremendous. It’s a gorgeous looking book because of the coloring and Showside the world is a place that you want to visit because it’s so bright and beautiful… at least if it were like a video game I would visit it.
If you missed the first issue and you’re looking for wholesome, yet fun and video game inspired entertainment, then check out Welcome to Showside. I know it won’t be for everyone. Maybe you looked at this and thought, “oh this is just like that one book and the other.” Well, it is a little, but in the best possible way.
Welcome to Showside #2 Creator, Writer, Artist: Ian McGinty Backup Story Artist: Carolyn Nowak Colorist/Letterer: Fred Stresing Publisher: Z2 Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/25/15 Format: Ongoing; Print