The Sea Ghost #1
Friday, March 04 2011
DiRT takes a look at The Sea Ghost #1 by Jay Piscopo and Nemo Publishing!
As a father of two young children, I can appreciate an “all ages” title a little bit more than the average comic book fan. To most, the idea of a “family friendly” book usually carries a connotation that it's written for kids and won't appeal to their more mature senses. However, often a book comes along that isn't written for children as much as it's just so strongly wholesome that it finds itself often overlooked by fans who have grown accustomed to dark and gritty tales. The Sea Ghost #1 from Nemo Publishing isn't really aimed at children. In reality, it's more of a throwback to a simpler time in comic book publishing where wholesome was the norm in society. If it weren't for a few modern publishing touches, this could easily be a long lost silver age gem and comic book fans of any age should stop and take a look.
Spun out of the pages of the Capt'n Eli graphic novels, The Sea Ghost comes from Atlantis and hosts a variety of powers. He seems to be very strong, can shoot energy beams from his hands, and has psychic abilities. Of course, ha can also breathe underwater, but shouldn't everyone from Atlantis? The Sea Ghost seems to occupy a character space somewhere between the classic version of Space Ghost and the Superfriends version of Batman. He's smart as well as strong, and often mediates matters instead of simply resorting to fisticuffs. His look is classic Alex Toth and creator Jay Piscopo plays the Toth-esque style for all it's worth. For every aspiring artist who says all the good classic looks are taken, Piscopo has them schooled with my number one new choice of character dying for an action figure.
Despite the classic look of the characters, the overall art has many post modern touches. The word balloons are not white slabs covering the artwork, but instead are translucent cells layered over the artwork. All the lettering has that crisp look of professional typefaces and colors are vivid and sharp. In some instances, even the layout of the individual panels seem to be based off of 3D modeled figures, though they still appear hand drawn. When Piscopo often seems to be looking backward for inspiration in his characters, he also seems to be looking forward to blaze a new course in the production of the book.
The story is probably the best throwback for classic comic book fans. Anyone familiar with the Kirby-esque stories of the past will instantly feel at home. The Sea Ghost finds himself mysteriously transported to another world where a Cthulhu inspired tentacle monster feeds a war between two races. To end the war, The Sea Ghost must fight off a dragon, escape from prison, and unite the two opposing sides together in a battle against this monster. It's a whimsical sci-fi tale that still retains that inability to shy away from discussions of death and loss in tales of battle often seen in classical literature. It's certainly safe for children to read, but I think it really is geared more towards adults and mature minds.
For $3.99, you get 31 pages of story, several pin-ups, and a note from Jay Piscopo explaining how much he loves classic cartoons, Alex Toth, Jack Kirby, and classic comic book “cartoonist” Ramona Fradon. It's a $4 love-fest of classic comics books and super-hero culture and simply can't be beaten.