JUNIOR, ISSUE #1
Cartoonist: Alex Kmeto
Publisher: Scout Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A fast-paced sci-fi adventure featuring two bickering protagonists who must traverse a planet of dinosaurs.
Think The Martian meets The Lost World.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Astronauts Junior and Walter, a talking hippo, are sent on a mission to do some routine repairs on a military surveillance station orbiting the dead Planet 811. Junior bemoans the tedious, boring mission, but Walter aptly reminds her that she should be thankful she didn't get a worse punishment for her previous shenanigans. The duo's duties are swiftly interrupted when an asteroid collides with the station.
The explosion has heavily damaged their ship and the incoming shrapnel will destroy them before they have a chance to call for help, so the two crash onto the derelict planet. Upon impact, Junior is launched from the cockpit becoming separated from Walter. Before she can even catch her breath, she’s attacked by a tyrannosaurus rex and must flee. It turns out the planet isn’t abandoned and the dinosaur is the least of their problems.
Kmeto’s dialogue immediately establishes the relationship between Junior and Walter. Their bickering shows a familiarity between them and sets the tone for their story.
Also, his linework balances detail and open space well to maintain the focus of each panel, even in a busy spaceship or jungle scene.
Callahan manages to squeeze in lots of colors throughout the book without sacrificing the focus of each panel or overwhelming the eyes. His ability to convey multiple types of lighting based on the setting is commendable.
Hopkins expertly manages the flow of dialogue and ensures reading order is never confused. Some smaller panels contain up to five balloons that manage to cover no art and be smooth as butter.
The story is incredibly fast-paced and allows the characters little room to breathe. It’s action-packed and exciting from start to finish and leaves the reader wanting the next issue.
The positioning, angles, and layouts all flow well and work in tandem to make this book a smooth read.
Hopkins’ sound effects lettering is incredibly diverse, lettering in multiple styles but never taking away from the art.
The art plays an essential role in the story’s comedic timing. Repetition and similarly angled panels allow a moment of silence for the punchline or visual gag to land firmly.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
The book has few quiet moments for the reader to rest or allow the characters to interact beyond surviving. A few pages of conversation could have fleshed the characters out more in this first issue.
In a similar vein, the pacing of the art is relentless and there could have been more pages that have more traditional layouts to allow the reader to appreciate the art for a moment.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Junior is a perfect example of how powerful carefully planned layouts and camera angles are in a comic. The art is excellently crafted so each panel feels like a smooth read. Kmeto’s use of diagonal gutters and floating panels makes the story feel intense and in constant motion. While the book leans a bit heavy on action and fast pacing, the art alone gives the story a unique voice.
Kmeto’s story props up multiple unanswered questions without resorting to cheesy cliffhangers or overly dramatic dialogue. Every nugget of what will come in later issues emerges naturally from the troublesome situations the characters must overcome. To top this off, the comedy is presented in a way that works especially well for comics demonstrating a crafty thoughtfulness.
Callahan’s coloring reminds me of Rico Renzi’s work. The colors are sharply contrasted with light shadows making each panel as sweet as candy. This style melds with the art and story to heighten the fun and intensity of this relentlessly paced comic. Hopkins matches Callahan and Kmeto stride for stride, throwing everything and the kitchen sink into his lettering while never detracting from the book’s flow.
Junior is perfect for anyone who loves wacky sci-fi with lovable characters that’s unabashedly fun.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Raiva by Alex Kmeto
Xenozoic Tales by Mark Schulz
Lunar Room by Danny Lore & Gio Sposito
If you like the art:
Sea of Stars by Jason Aaron & Dennis Hallum
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur by Amy Reeder & Brandon Montclare
Divinity by Matt Kindt & Trevor Hairsine
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Alex Kmeto (@AlexKmeto) – Writer/Artist
After years of being a comic fan and collector, Kmeto decided to team up with Sean Callahan in 2018 and began creating comics.
Junior is his first comic released by a publisher.
Sean Callahan (@CallahanColors) – Colorist
Mainly working in the indie scene, Callahan has colored books for Action Labs, WebToons, Vigilante Comix, and Bird’s Eye Comics.
He has also colored album artwork for War Gods of the Deep.
Callahan is self-taught in coloring but learned more about crafting comics through Comics Experience.
DC Hopkins (@DC_Hopkins) – Letterer
A prolific talent, Hopkins has lettered books for nearly every major publisher as well as several independent releases.
He co-hosts the horror podcast, Eerie, International, and the comics/pop culture podcast, Hideous Energy.
Hopkins is a staff letterer for AndWorld design, the studio established by letterer, Deron Bennett.
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 Junior characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Scout Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.