Monday Review – Deer Editor

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Synopsis

Deer Editor is a modern whodunit written by Ryan K Lindsay, art by Sami Kivelä and lettering by Nic J. Shaw. Bucky, our fearless anthropomorphic journalist deer, stumbles upon a murder in this noir inspired digital only series.

Story

*Minor spoiler ahead*.

Coming across a John Doe at the local morgue, Bucky a writer at ‘The Truth’ newspaper, discovers a cover up involving upper echelons of City Hall. On his journey to unearth the gritty story for his paper, he’ll come across a bartender with an amoral compass, a sleazy Hugh Hefner type character and several corpses.

Bucky will have to use not only his investigative journalism skills but also his additional animal senses of smell, antlers, thick hide and speed to get to the bottom of this life and death story.

I came across Deer Editor through a recent Deer Hacker campaign that Ryan K Lindsay was running for his third volume of this series on Twitter. I hadn’t read any of the previous work nor had I come across Lindsay’s work in the past so I picked up all three digital volumes at the end of the campaign.

I really enjoyed this first volume and I found the story engaging. It has been some time since I sat down and read a whodunit and I was thoroughly entertained by the twists and turns of this noir inspired story. I was wondering how surreal this story was going to be having a deer as the protagonist but surprisingly, it works quite well. I really enjoyed how Lindsay used the animal side of Bucky in further certain panels within the story to further develop story.

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The story had a good sense of pace and I quickly read all three chapters of the first volume in a about ten minutes because it constantly engaged me to swipe to the next page. The fact that it ends on a cliff hanger only make you want to pick up the second volume and start reading.

The decision for the story to only be released digitally and to be specially designed for tablet devices worked in the stories favour. It’s the first digital comic I’ve read in this format and it was nice not to have to zoom in on certain panels on my iPad.

The writing was tight and the use of Bucky being the narrator helps to drag you as a reader into this noir story. This is reminiscent of similar style stories in different mediums such as the film Double Indemnity.

Art

The black and white art works very well with this story. One of the concerns I have with B&W art generally is that sometimes you can’t discern features, mood or times of day if the artist does not communicate this correctly. Thankfully this was not the case with Deer Editor. Sami Kivelä really delivers with the art here and again compliments the noir style writing by using great examples of silhouettes and shadows.

When you humanise animals there is always a trade off of how much of the animal you keep against the human superimposition. With style, Kivelä adds a very believable human deer to the unknown corrupt city where the story takes place.

deer-editor-vol-3-exampleI also appreciated the use of panels in delivering pace to bring into focus certain objects in the scene that the reader should be focusing on.

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Lettering

As I’m trying to become a letterer myself I thought I would spend some time with this oft look part of the comic creation. Nic J. Shaw created a rather reserved approach to the sound effects of this issue. In fact, in most major cape comics you would expect to see SFX when for example a door is kicked open. Shaw goes the other way and leaves a lot of SFX for the readers imagination which in this story is actually a benefit and lets Kivelä’s art shine.

I also enjoyed the deer head silhouette that would signal the start of a Bucky’s narration. Whilst this was most likely a created by the artist, the placement of it I would assume was the Shaw.

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The placement of the dialogue is sound sand doesn’t distract from the art and story. So basically does exactly what a good letterer is supposed to.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to finish this review and read the next two instalments. You can still get your own grubby mits on them if you visit the Deer Editor website. The fact the stories can be picked up for a dollar also means your not breaking the bank to read a new piece of work that is really engaging. If you wish to follow Lindsay, Kivelä or Shaw you can find them on Twitter.

Join me next Monday for our next comic review.

Regards,

N. S. Paul

Wednesday Support – Lettering resources, anthologies, Kickstarter and new work

Now that I am back in full swing at my day job it is harder to do as many updates as I would like but I have managed to come across some excellent resources in my limited downtime.

Resources

The first comes from letterer Jim Campbell (@CampbellLetters & clickflicklettering) who has worked with publishing companies such as 2000AD, BOOM! Studios, Image Comics, Titan Comics, Heavy Metal and Dark Horse to name a few. I came across his guides on the 2000AD forums and I have massive respect for his teaching ethic. Since I found his resources, Jim has been kind enough to point me in the direction to more resources for lettering on his blog through Twitter. I’ve always had a massive amount of respect and gratitude to working professionals who are willing to spend a little time helping amateurs develop their skills to join the industry. So Jim Campbell, thank you! (FYI – you should check out his blog already).

Anthologies

There’s a been several new anthologies and submissions that I’ve come across in the last few weeks. Hopefully you can get to submitting to these soon!

Kickstarters

So let’s talk new comics! I’ve been scouring Kickstarter for new potential material to read and some have caught my eye that I thought I would share. I am no way affiliated with these comic creators. I actually came across their work because of Twitter and I ended following a couple of additional Kickstarters through their social media.

The first is “Ness #2” written by Chris Welsh and art by Robert Carey. I wish I could tell you more about it but I was totally sold on H. P. Lovecraft, Hellboy and Scottish mix. I’m now just waiting for Issue 1 and Issue 2 to be delivered when the Kickstarter finishes. FYI, this Kickstarter has already succeeded but you can still get involved and support the creators.

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The second Kickstarter is Deer Editor: Hack.

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Written by Ryan K Lindsay and art by Sami Kivelä Again if I’m honest, I’m supporting this Kickstarter mostly because of the artwork and the title of the work. And considering the entry point of supporting this comic and the fact that it had already met it’s financial target I had nothing to loose supporting it. Again I am not affiliated with the two Kickstarters above but they just look so damn cool, so check them out and pledge!

New material

Your still here? Fantastic! I’ve recently put my most recent drafts of original scripts on the website. You can check them out at the comics page. I’d recommend “Home” and “My Hero” for short starting points. Please keep in mind these are working drafts and will be updated.

In the interim, have a good Friday.

N. S. Paul