Appropriately enough, the first review for this new website dedicated to all things “Indie” and “Small Press” is called StartUp. I swear, I couldn’t plan it any better.
StartUp harkens back to the yesteryear of comics, where personal issues led to ridicule and potential bullying, Today, society believes that is has moved on from such indignities and there will be reviewers and commentators who may well look at this book and beseech its portrayal of an obese woman and her desire to be thin and catch her dream boat man. If on the other hand, you know your comics history, you know that angst drives the hero forward and you will accept the premise of the story.
Renee Garcia-Gibson is a single mom who makes ends meet working as a stenographer, who happens to weigh 300 pounds. Great if you want to play “O” line for the Dallas Cowboys, not so great for Renee as she tries to fit into the world that either ignores, insults and otherwise mis-treats her. This element is pure nerd Peter Parker or grumpy Ben Grimm or an other of the countless heroes who are lampooned before the spandex is fitted. Still Renee is offered a chance for a miracle potion that will reduce her size immediately, no fuss no muss and quicker than you can “Alice don’t drink that potion”, Renee downs it and it………Works!! No pain-all the gain to coin a phrase. Still there is a side effect that comes to the forefront exceedingly quickly. Renee, whilst super slim also is super fast as she discovers with an altercation with a heavy-looking to pound her mysterious benefactor.
Writer Darin Henry has a unique idea with this book. As the blurb on the cover says, “its TV you read!” Now this may seem like a bold statement, but reading the book, you can clearly see that humour plays a large part in the story, whether its Renee’s delusions or the problems of car parking – these are real life issues that are fully realized which in turn, may strike a few cords with various readers. Henry’s writing has an easy flow to it which you would expect from someone who has writing credits for shows like Seinfeld and Futurama. The characters are fun, the situations are funny and even the elements that seem familiar; Glut is to Doctor David as the Libyans were to Doc Brown; have an energy about them. As this a “TV show” there is a commercial breaks, which with two adverts further pokes fun at high school life and those awful insurance ads. As with the main story, the writing is spot on with its satire of the real world.
Craig Rousseau may not be a name that is instantly recognisable, but he has been around since 90’s where he started as a fill-in artist on Impulse, before getting the book as a regular gig. This lead to more DC work with Batman Beyond, Young Justice and Detective Comics. From there, Rousseau worked across the aisle and spent time at Image. With StartUp, the work can be easily broken down into two main styles. For the majority of the book, where cartoony elements interact as forms of physical humour, the line work can be at times to be less dominant than in the “hero” section. Once Renee transforms, the line work looks a tad darker, thicker which helps define the movement of the characters with a kinetic feel. The colors are by Glen Whitmore who seems to appreciate the cartoon element by laying down a bright scheme that helps extol the lightness of the story.
StartUp is a nod to those heady days of Marvel angst and pathos, wrapped in Renee’s problems that can seem real, despite the heroics that start to show themselves. Fans of clever characters whose own self-awareness can create the humour of said characters beleaguered life will no doubt enjoy this book. For me, it’s a very promising start to a series of books that may just brighten up the comic books universes that can take themselves far too seriously.
Writing – 5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
Writer: Darin Henry
Artist: Craig Rousseau
Get your copy HERE