Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do the Part-Time Shuffle!

I remember a time when I would walk into a comic shop and be in awe at the gross abundance fun and interesting books laid out before me. The experience was akin to walking into a Toys R Us, except without those sliding doors that blast you with plastic-scented air conditioning. That would have been ever better. Never-the-less, going to check out the latest comics was something I'd look always forward to. As the years have gone by, I become less and less driven to hit up many comic stores (except for the ones that sell old comics). Most people would probably equate that with getting older, but not in my case. To put it simply....

They just don't make 'em like they used to anymore.

Don't get me wrong. There are a few gems to be found here and there, but they're much fewer and farther between than they used to be. I'm now pretty reliant on the internet, or friend recommendations to lead me to the good stuff. In this case, a promising new comic comes from a fellow graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design.

Story and Lineart by James Stanley
Coloring by Jessie Lam

(I half-expect to see a boss fight with the bartender in an alley.)

The image above was enough to hook me in.  The presenation has the same vibe I'd get from a fighting game, or a side-scrolling beat 'em up. As a huge fan of those things, that's definitely a plus. The entertainment value of such resonates not just through the art, but also in the story.

Part-Time shuffle is the chronicles the exploits of Meiko Schultz, a half Japanese-half Jewish, Osaka resident with hopes of becoming a famous film directer. Until her dreams take off, she humbly runs a family-owned video/hobby shop called "Hole in the Wall".  With childhood friends Shunya and Aoi helping out, things are going pretty well.  Little does Meiko know about her family's "other" business.

She's told the full scope of what she's truly inherited by the notorious Kigen Yakuza. Feeling cornered, if not confused, Meiko offers her services to the family.  Surprisingly, her offer is accepted and Meiko becomes the family's new part-time assassin.

In the preview currently online, you get a taste of what to expect from the series. There's a great sense of humor already present as we are introduced to the main characters. Readers will also be treated by colorful writing such as "butthurt{ness}" and "unfortunate slumber is happen..."

The art is clean, solid, visually engaging. The designs give you just enough information to establish each character's idiosyncrasy without piling on too many accessories. Many designers have a tendency to get detail-happy, witch actually winds up making the characters look less distinct. Such is not the case here.

So far, this comic looks to be one of the coveted gems of today.  Light-hearted action/adventures have always been favorites of mine, so I hope to see more of the series.

The online preview is currently available on the artist's website.

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