Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Early Reviews of Owlgirls #1

OK kids, Owlgirls #1 (Red Anvil Comics) has been released and it is apparently getting some rave reviews. I'm going to post a few of them here.

First up is: 

Larry’s Comics pick of the week for Delivery 7/23/14


RED ANVIL INC
(W) Robert J. Sodaro (A) Rachele Aragno, Dave Ryan (CA) Rachele Aragno
NYC, 1945, three mystical private detective sisters, better known as Owlgirls, live in a mortuary in SoHo. Often doing the bidding of Death by tracking down supernatural creatures, they also investigate murders, unsolved cases, and assist in sundry other paranormal activities.
Microscopic print run that in addition to appealing to the Wednesday Warriors can also service the recent fangirl explosion to the industry. Strong female lead charachters & an element of fun made me pull the trigger on this sure to be tough to find #1.
Next is: 

The GeekNation Pull List – 7/24/2014


From Red Anvil: Owlgirls #1 by Rachele Aragno (Characters, Story and Art), Robert J. Sodaro (Story and Script), and Dave Ryan (Art)
Cover art to Owlgirls #1, by Rachele Aragno.
Cover art to Owlgirls #1, by Rachele Aragno.
I have to admit right up front: Owlgirls #1 is a weird comic book.
That’s not an admonishment, by any means. More often than not, when it comes to independent comics, usually the weirder it is, the better. There’s just simply a lot going on here, and the story attempts to mix so many elements together that it can be a little easy to become lost in the mix. The funny thing about that, though, is that even with so many different elements in play (period piece, ethereal mysticism, women with the heads of owls), this issue never becomes incoherent. There’s a lot to keep track of, sure, but the writing and artwork tell a story that seems to very much know what it’s doing, even if that idea is unclear to the audience upon a single read-through.
Normally, I would attempt to summarize at least the beginning for you here, but it would be difficult to do so in a way that makes a whole lot of sense to anyone that hasn’t actually read the issue. We’re introduced to a lot of characters by the end of issue #1′s first half, and the creative team has laid the foundation for a lot of interesting implications that dabble in the genres of mystery, romance, fantasy, and even noir. As a story being told in the comic book medium, it uses the inherent efficiency that comic book storytelling inherently contains and pushes the amount of information on characters, setting, rules, and overall possibilities to the absolute limit. Even having said that, I never felt overloaded while actually reading this book. What may take other creators and titles at least a few issues in the pursuit of world-building has seemingly been accomplished in a single stroke by Aragno, Sodaro, and Ryan, and on that merit alone I have to applaud them.
You won’t have all of the answers by the time you get to the last page. If anything, you’ll actually have more questions coming out than going in, but the questions you’ll have likely weren’t even conceivable by the time you started reading the issue anyway. It’s kind of cool, and definitely intriguing.
If it isn’t clear, I’m definitely recommending this book. As vague as the issue seemed to be, I never felt it was vague simply because it wanted to be. It just seems that there’s a lot of material to cover before we go on this adventure fully. So, as a first issue, I think Owlgirls has a lot of interesting potential as we head into the second issue. 8/10
If you’re interested in giving it a read, check out it on digital platforms or you can encourage your local comic shop to order you a copy that you can then pick up with your regular pull list!
Here is what Word of the Nerd had to say: 
Owlgirls #1
NYC, 1945, three mystical private detective sisters, better known as Owlgirls, live in a mortuary in SoHo. Often doing the bidding of Death by tracking down supernatural creatures, they also investigate murders, unsolved cases, and assist in sundry other paranormal activities.
Written by: Robert J. Sodaro
Art by: Rachele Aragno, Dave Ryan
Cover Art by: Rachele Aragno

And finally Comic Book Resources:
From start to finish, "Owlgirls" #1 is quite possibly the most unique comic book flying under the radar and hitting stands this week. After achieving success via Kickstarter, Dave Ryan, Robert J. Sodaro and Rachele Aragno bring a 1940s story to print starring three owl-faced sisters.
Magdalena, Maggie and Martha have the faces of owls, but otherwise appear to be normal women in New York City. Betrothed to Gebedhia, the mortuary proprietor, Magdalena serves as the matriarch of this odd little clutch. The cast is rounded out with an old lady who appears to be an analogue for Death, or may very well be Death herself. Writer Sodaro doesn't spend the entirety of "Owlgirls" #1 running the reader through expository boot camp, choosing instead to add flourish to the version of SoHo these ladies inhabit. The writer does scatter plenty of mystery seeds, however, and ends the issue with a threatening cliffhanger.
The art is what really separates "Owlgirls" #1 from everything else. The comic book opens with a quick of 1940s New York presented in a style that treads between photo-referenced and clearly hand-drawn. It's charming and engaging right from the start, especially with letterer Wilson Ramos, Jr. selecting Courier or a similar typewriter looking font to inform the reader and serve as tour guide.
The art itself is a solid collaboration between Rachele Aragno and Dave Ryan. Readers might see bits of Howard Chaykin, Matthew Clark, Guy Davis and early Mike Mignola in the these pages that are filled with 1940s fashion and decor, complete with flowery wallpaper and black and white checkerboard pattern tile flooring. Rather than spoil the art by applying modern coloring processes and tones, Ryan and Aragno elect to preserve the period feel and deteriorated nature, leaning heavily towards shades of sepia with deep, rich blacks to anchor imagery throughout the story. The characters throughout "Owlgirls" #1 are very distinct, a fine decision by the artists as they establish the foundation for this series to build upon.
While "Owlgirls" #1 snuck under the radar for me during its Kickstarter campaign, I'm glad I found it now. This is an odd little mash-up that could only succeed from an independent publisher and stands out as a true gem. I don't know where the creative team plans on taking this adventure, but "Owlgirls" #1 provides plenty of options, from tales of acceptance to mystical mayhem to mobsters showing up at a mortuary. Robert J. Sodaro, Rachele Aragno, Dave Ryan, Wilson Ramos, Jr. and Lawrence John Hansen have cooked up a bizarre time capsule packed with mystery that has my attention and deserves some more eyeballs checking it out.

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I have to say that I am honored and pleased to have so many of my peers to say such nice things about Owlgirls. I would like to take credit, but I can’t as this is truly a team effort, from Rachele Aragno's original concept, to Dave Ryan's vision and artistic magic, yes, to even my story, this is a great book, and not just because I’m part of the team that put it together, but because as Joe Martino and Dave Ryan (The publishers of Red Anvil Comics) have said. “We want to publish comics that are so cool that we'd spend our own money to buy them even if we weren't publishing them.” 

Thanks everyone, the best is yet to come!

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