Magpie, Issue #1 (COMIC BOOK REVIEW)

From writer Andrez Bergen and artist Frantz Kantor comes a bit of a pulp comic called Magpie, which can be found within the pages of the Australian national comiczine Oi Oi Oi!

“Magpie is done very much in the spirit of, well, The Spirit – taking on the concept that people like Will Eisner and Tarpé Mills did of telling complete stories and off-beat vignettes, with a sense of humor as much as a nod to noir, over 8-page installments. While an homage to the comics we love from the golden age to contemporary ones, it also carries with it a pastiche/deconstruction of multi-media pop-culture sensibilities, and the odd fracture of the fourth wall.

Along the way, within each tale, there are nods and winks at everything – from Roy Thomas to Ghost in the Shell, M.C. Escher wrestling Russ Manning’s Magnus, Robot Fighter, Terminator, 2001, and on into mass-media current affair programs.”

Magpie instantly involves you in its characters. We see the majority of issue one through the eyes of the antagonist, odd enough, although you don’t realize it until the very end. We learn that the trials this particular antagonist went through as a hero turned him eventually towards his villainy. And interestingly the entire issue turns out to be an elaborate and intricately handled monologue he is telling the true hero of the tale.

Frantz Kantor’s art is reminiscent of Pixar’s The Incredibles in the sense that the characters have an exaggerated, cartoonish build. The characters and objects in the panels are created digitally, and alongside the 2-dimensional backgrounds, it all blends into a vivid and cleverly realistic world. The action never looks weird, as is common for art like this, but instead is dynamic and entertaining.

Unfortunately, it’s a short issue, at only 8 pages – no doubt a problem because it is attached to a larger magazine – but the few pages are really fun. I wish we could have seen more of our titular hero, as the brief introduction near the end just wasn’t enough, especially because she, Magpi, is pleasant to look at. I look forward to seeing this series continue.

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