Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A mob-style story starring an owner of a chain of chicken restaurants.
Think Quentin Tarantino directing a crossover between Pineapple Express and The Founder.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Mitch Moss has everything: a loving family that wishes he was around more, and Mitch’s Hot Chicken, the best Nashville chicken franchise in Los Angeles. After a typical morning bickering with his family, he receives a call from his partner, Antonio, that the storehouse has caught fire. Thankful that they only lost one chicken mascot and a couple of months of inventory, Mitch chalks up the loss before he and Antonio are attacked by mobsters.
The assailants, at the behest of Antonio, were using Mitch’s chicken buckets to smuggle drugs and accuse the duo of conspiring against them. Suspiciously, the fire seemed to only burn the parts of the warehouse containing their supply. The gang’s leader charges the duo $2 million for the missing drugs, "or else."
Can Mitch make everything right?
Buccellato's sarcastic dialogue and fast-paced story complement each other well and keep a reader’s attention. There’s never a dull moment from page to page.
Sherman’s loose, scratchy linework does incredible work displaying the intensity of the plot. His facial expressions are slightly surreal, making the characters even more emotional.
In addition, Sherman’s use of color is stunning. During the most dramatic moments, he limits the scene’s palette, making the emotional moments intense and truly heart-wrenching.
The lettering style from Otsmane-Elhaou is unique and perfectly fits the art style. He opts for lines instead of standard tails which direct the reader’s eyes wonderfully and pace the story well.
The unique layouts are a visual treat. They keep the story moving while also allowing close-ups of the character’s faces to instill each scene with drama.
The dialogue between Mitch and his family is chaotic and hilarious and excellently sells that they are a bit dysfunctional, yet loving. The conversations feel like real bickering from a close-knit family.
Otsmane-Elhaou’s effects lettering is a star in this comic. It masterfully follows the flow of the art and feels like a natural part of the background. One notable instance is an explosion later in the story where the “boom” seems to erupt from the center of the fire.
The supplemental article and menu included in the back of the issue add some fun lore to the story as an extra treat.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Content Warning: There are some depictions of graphic violence that could be a turn-off to some readers.
The font for the dialogue is unique but was hard to read in balloons with smaller lettering.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Chicken Devil is somehow a dark comedy and a heartfelt drama with no incongruence. One would think these two genres would undermine the other, but this manages both and makes it feel natural. While Mitch isn’t the greatest person in the world, the reader truly sympathizes with him as his world crumbles around him. At the same time, he finds himself stumbling through the conflicts of the story, causing wacky hijinks to ensue. Never do these two sides of Mitch feel in conflict, and it’s stunning how fleshed out the character feels just within this first issue.
The art of this series is something special. Exaggerated facial expressions make the emotional meat of the story and the color choices stop readers in their tracks at just the right moments. Even when the art is minimalist, it says a lot. The lettering should be highly commended for how much it feels like a natural extension of the art while adding to the humor. Otsmane-Elhaou’s keen eye for when to make the lettering prominent and when to keep it quiet is on full display.
This book is perfect for anyone wanting to try something funny and emotional that also covers territory less explored in the comics medium.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year Five by Brian Buccellato & Bruno Redondo
The Flash by Francis Manapul & Brian Buccellato
Sin City by Frank Miller
If you like the art:
The Few by Ed Brisson & Hayden Sherman
Wasted Space by Michael Moreci & Hayden Sherman
Manic Of New York by Elliot Kalan & Andrea Mutti
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Brian Buccellato (@brianbooch) – Writer
Being a comics veteran, Buccellato has written titles such as Injustice: Gods Among Us, Detective Comics, and The Flash.
He is also a renowned artist having contributed to multiple Marvel, DC, and Image titles.
Buccellato began his comics writing career with Top Cow’s The Darkness.
Hayden Sherman (@cleanlined) – Artist
A rising talent, Sherman has done art for Marvel, Image, Dynamite, and Boom! Studios with his biggest titles being The Few with Sean Lewis and Old Man Logan with Ed Brisson.
Much of his work has been placed on best artists lists across the internet.
Sherman studied at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (@hassanoe) – Letterer
With an established reputation for quality lettering, Otsmane-Elhaou has letter books for multiple publishers including Image, Dynamite, Aftershock, and Vault Comics.
Being multitalented, he is also the creator of the Eisner-winning magazine PanelxPanel.
He is from Algeria.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Chicken Devil characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Aftershock Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.