Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nanny & Hank - Reviewed

Recently, Bluewater Comics approached us about reviewing some books for them and I jumped at the chance. Since I pick the indies, I’ve seen many a Bluewater book advertised. And, with titles like She-Buccaneer, I’ve made fun of plenty of them too. Now I was being presented a chance to see if my preconceived notions were close to reality. And I can happily say they weren’t. This week I read the first issue of Nanny & Hank, written by Mark L. Miller, drawn by Steve Babb, and colors by Ivan Plascencia, published by Bluewater Comics.

The story opens in a bar where two men, O’Neil and Rondo, are obviously quite drunk. O’Neil, in typical drunkard fashion, is railing against a system that is trying to keep him down. His work isn’t good enough, he doesn’t understand the rules, and he has no taste are just a couple of the insults he has apparently endured. While these seem like standard drunkard complaints, once it is revealed that O’Neil is a vampire, they take on a whole new meaning. Cut to Nanny & Hank, an elderly retired couple getting ready to take a road trip in the Winnebago to see the grand children. When O’Neil, still drunk, shows up, he decides to show the world how much taste he has and turns Nanny & Hank into vampires. The issue closes with Nanny & Hank waking up, trying to figure out what has happened to them.

Miller has managed to come up with a new twist on an old vampire theme. At this point, everyone is familiar with the “vampire doll” or very young child who becomes a vampire. I, for one, had never asked what would happen if my Grandma became a vampire.

But, more importantly, Miller manages to execute the concept in an stellar fashion. He does a really good job of stuffing a ton of information into 22 pages and still keeping the book entertaining. The main characters are introduced, given motivation and characterization, some hints dropped about potential future plotlines, and a solid ending that leave you wondering what comes next. You can’t ask for anything more from a comic book.

But, as good as the story was, the art is what carried this book for me. I’ve pretty much seen every Kirby, Perez, and Jim Lee clone on the market so I’m always on the look out for something different. And Steve Babb’s art is about as different as you can get. The closest style that I can compare it to is the great Carlos Meglia with heavy inks by Eric Canete. Don’t get me wrong, Babb’s art is entertaining but it isn’t for everyone. The characters are definitely distorted with almost conical shaped noses. It’s jarring at first but it quickly grows on you.

Babb did a good job of composition too. I think too many artists want to just draw splash pages and they forget how to draw sequential panels. Each page was typically six panels. Babb actually knows how to tell a story which is another huge plus. I think I was more impressed that he only resorted to a splash page once!

Overall this is a very good setup issue. The main characters are introduced, some hints dropped about potential future plotlines, and a solid ending to leave you wondering what comes next. In a market that is already stuffed with vampire books, this is one that you should try.

You can visit Bluewater Publishing here

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