There are a lot of comics out there, but some just stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week, we look at the ongoing adventures of “The Unbelievable Gwenpool.”
Who Is This By?
“Gwenpool” is written by Christopher Hastings with artwork currently by Irene Strychalski and Rachelle Rosenberg on colors. VC’s Clayton Cowles provides the lettering. Gurihiru, who has done the illustrations for previous chapters, created the cover of this week’s issue.
What’s It All About?
Contrary to what one might think, it’s not about Deadpool or Gwen Stacy. Gwen Poole was your average comic-loving girl from our world, who somehow found herself in the Marvel comic universe. Completely aware of her status as a comic book character, and all the tropes therein, she decided the best way to survive was to become a superhero herself.
At first, her knowledge of Marvel comics was her only superpower. In these past few issues, though, she’s been developing new powers based on being able to see past the borders of the comic panels, and through the fourth wall. Now she’s learning all the ways to use those great powers, with absolutely none of the responsibility therein, and become a beloved hero.
What Makes It So Great?
First of all, it’s just plain fun. Christopher Hastings is clearly having a great time working with Gwen and having her mingle with the Marvel universe. Gwen’s knowledge of the fourth wall and comic tropes are entertaining, not just in a “Hah, she knows she’s in a comic book” way, as is often the case with “Deadpool,” but in the she understands comics and her love for the world of Marvel is pure way. She’s a very endearing character, whose flaws allow her to develop and understand the consequences of her actions.
Secondly, it looks great. There’s definitely a bit of manga inspiration in Irene Strychalski’s artwork but it suits the tone well. The designs are very clear and nicely detailed, with smooth line work and a way with expressions that makes the emotions pop even underneath Gwen’s mask. Rachelle Rosenberg’s color work is very bright, making good use of pinks, whites, and greens on a blue background, so it’s vibrant and very easy on the eyes.
When Gwen starts taking the action outside of the panels, the way it’s illustrated looks great. The use of white space to show the void between the pages works well with the pink glow that surrounds the characters, as well as the pink shading the covers the panels they’re leaving behind. On top of that, being able to move between the panels opens up a wide array of tricks and cool uses of comic continuity and panel spacing that both writer and artist have been taking full advantage of. Gwen’s new powers have been making great use of the comic medium, and it’s a lot of fun to see them develop and their potential unfold.
How Can You Read It?
Typically by looking at the assorted words in each panel, applying meaning to the words based on the language, context, and order in which they appear, and using that meaning to understand what’s being said and done.
Oh, but the comic itself is available in a trade paperbacks for volumes 1-3, with volume 4 set to release in January. You can find physical copies at your local comic shop, or find them digitally on Comixology or Marvel’s digital comics.