As has been seen, I read a lot every week. Every week I get an e-mail telling me what comes out during the week, and I go through the list and cross out/delete everything I don’t plan to read. My pull list is kind of daunting, and it occasionally gives me nightmares. My bank account trembles in fear for every coming Wednesday. By all rights and standards, I should be alone in a dark attic with a wardrobe similar to Gollum, only peeking out on Wednesdays after noon to collect my preciouses before running back to the safety of the dark – that’s how many books I read. And due to the size of this list, occasionally I forget a title and don’t remember to NOT cross it out. As is the case with Overlook #2. So, due to this, I am submitting a late review for a comic that came out LAST week that I just simply… overlooked (too soon?)
Overlook is a 3-issue mini series written by a guy you’ve probably never heard of (Joshua Williamson, who mainly writes kids-oriented stuff) and drawn by a guy you’ve probably never heard of (Alejandro Aragon, who I can’t even find information about). It’s put out on imprint of Image, one of the indie comic book companies, and it has little to no publicity. To say that it has the most perfect title is to be overly punny (to which I’ve already done it once this article) and somewhat tacky. So if you’ve missed issues 1 and 2, don’t fret – chances are no one expected you to find it in the first place.
However, I think that’s what makes Overlook so great. You see, I chanced upon issue #1 (shown below) because the cover looked like something Frank Millar would do. As I read the book, I found that that’s very true. Overlook is like a cross between Frank Millar’s Sin City, Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets, and Ed Brubaker’s Criminal. And honestly? It’s not that special. It’s a paint by numbers noir story about a mob boss who hires a small time prize fighter to find his runaway wife and money, and as the prize fighter goes on he learns there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and of course it is drawn all black and white. It would appear that the title of the series is once again a very tounge-in-cheek title as there is more reasons to pass it by at first glance than there is to sit down and read it.
So if I bad mouth it so much, why am I taking the time to write an extended review for it that is equivalent to a review I would give to a completed story? Well, because I like this little book, doggone it! Sure, it’s nothing special. Sure, it’s not an amazingly revolutionary story (not yet, anyway.. the ending could have aliens or something coming straight out of left field). Sure, it’s not worth buying in single issues when you can get a trade. But for what it is, it’s really pretty good. In fact, it’s a damn cool read. Considering Williamson’s claim to fame is getting a show optioned by Cartoon Network and drawing cute Lil’ Dracula cartoons, him sitting and writing a gritty tale like this shows versatility. And Alejandro’s art is really good and incredibly appropriate for the tale. There are a lot of panels I sit and look at how they’re inked and I’m very impressed. It’s clear that he took his time when drawing and inking to get proper nuances of shadows and lighting correctly, and I wonder to myself, “If I could draw, how would I do this?” And considering a lot of independant releases have good writing but sub-par artwork in full color, it’s pretty awesome to see an indie indie with good writing and good artwork as well!
So, in all honesty, I can’t recommend you go out and hunt these issues down today as you go out to buy your normal books. I don’t think many people would enjoy this as it is right now. I think, if/when this eventually comes out on trade, it could reach a larger audience and impress more people. However, I 100% support the creative team behind this book, because it’s spirit like they have that keeps the comic industry thriving. We all love our big titles, our X-Factors, our Green Lanterns, but without indies where would we be? We would be in a much worse multiverse, that’s for sure, and we’d never get such great stories as Preacher, or Atomic Robo, and that would be a sad multiverse indeed. So it’s important to at least take the time to give an indie a look through more often than not. And that’s my rant for today.
If you are interested in seeing what Overlook is like, please click here to see some pages from issue 1.