JUNIPER, ISSUE #1
Writers: Nathan Tomsic & Georgiana Brown
Illustrator: Lorenzo Colangeli
Publisher: Scoot! Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A human girl and her robot sidekick accept a quest to locate a missing creature in this all-ages sci/fantasy tale.
The Dark Crystal meets Adventure Time in a collision of epic adventure genres.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Young human girl Juniper and her faithful robot friend Toby live on the planet Nerth. Accused of stealing honey, the duo flee from a swarm of technologically-advanced killer bees. To avoid getting stung, they conceal themselves inside a rock structure.
What was meant to serve as a protective hideaway unearths alarming discoveries. Propulsive adventure awaits if Juniper and Toby can escape the formidable creature lurking inside the cavern.
Nathan Tomsic & Georgiana Brown are tuned into the craft of world-building and individualizing their characters.
Without a lot of backstories provided so far, Tomsic and Brown let Juniper and Toby's dialogue inform their character, relationship, and hint to the more complex aspects behind the world system.
Lorenzo Colangeli's art delivers a lively and dynamic tone. Colangeli's expressive, identifying facial expressions and imaginative character designs echo the Adventure Time-esque aesthetic sensibilities prevalent in Juniper's concept.
Colangeli administers his interiors with lovely pastel hues from up and down the color spectrum. Light yellows and reds draw readers' eyes without overwhelming the page.
Where Colanegeli could have opted to weave a bold primary color palette into the panels, similar to children-adjacent cartoons, muted colors instead prevent the comic from looking like a visual deluge of imagery.
Toben Racicot boasts real range as a letterer here. His lettering renders many types of styles, including technology through cyber-style typeface, SFX denoting the buzzing of computerized bees, jagged-edged bubbles to stress an increase in volume, and even musical notes hanging inside speech balloons.
The design elements in Juniper are fabulous. Colangeli's linework and coloring inject humor, movement, and idiosyncrasies into the comic.
The world Juniper and the adorable Toby live in explodes with surreal textures and inventive fantasy landscapes.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Because Scout Comics follows a release schedule where they publish a first issue and then wait several months to release another comic entry in the series, some of these first issues suffer from lack of depth. In Juniper's case, this "first issue" introduces readers to what will be a full-length graphic novel released later this year. Thus, Juniper #1 feels less meaty content-wise than other first issues.
While I praised Racicot's lettering stylistic virtuosity before, I will admit I found some lettering placement issues inside the comic. There was at least one instance or more where following the dialogue in the speech bubbles proved confusing.
The plot follows the basic story structure found in quest-type narratives. We've reached the "Call to Adventure" in Juniper's Hero's Journey, as expected. Juniper's plot isn't anything entirely new, but the cute characters and technological fantasy elements feel fresh.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Juniper unleashes the spirit of adventure and calls back to those childhood days of yore we spent imagining our own fantasy worlds. "Adventure is out there!" is a running catchphrase in Pixar's UP (2009). That motif greatly applies in Juniper. The comic encourages exploration, friendship, discovery, and challenging yourself to probe the vast wonders of the world outside. A majority of kids media blends high concepts with approachable characters. Juniper follows suit, inferring technology-driven societal innovations children may not completely grasp while utilizing endearing characters to hold their attention.
The quippy, greedy, treasure-loving robot companion Toby calls to mind Futurama's Bender or Adventure Time's Jake. Thankfully, his character avoids becoming the "annoying sidekick" and works well as a foil to the morally straightforward Juniper.
There's something to relish about simplicity. Juniper #1 doesn't go overboard with exposition. Instead, the comic reads like going on a real adventure where the smaller details may never be fully realized but we notice them, nonetheless. With Juniper, are free to join the characters in their pursuits and bask in shared revelations along the way.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Crown & Anchor by Toben and Alaire Racicot
Count by Ibrahim Moustafa
Unikorn by Don Handfield, Johua Malkin & Rafael Loureiro
If you like the art:
Soulstream by Saida Woolf
The Mapmaker by Ben Slabak & Francesca Carita
Loot by Don Handfield, Richard Rayner, & K Lynn Smith
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Nathan Tomsic – Writer
Tomsic is a film school graduate and recent comic writer.
He has a true-crime YouTube channel and enjoys bike riding.
Georgiana Brown – Writer
Brown is a writer who enjoys writing lyrics, character dialogue, or crafting world designs.
Music Lover: She is the lead performer in a blues and funk band.
She currently resides in Sydney.
Lorenzo Colangeli – Illustrator (@ColangeliArt)
Colangeli is a comic book artist and character designer. His ArtStation Portfolio can be found here.
Colangeli illustrated Becstar from Mad Cave Studios and has also worked for Scout Comics and Editions Paquet.
Outlander: Hails from Roma, Italy.
Toben Racicot – Letterer (@TobenRacicot)
Racicot is a writer, letterer, and designer originally from Saskatchewan, Canada.
Racicot and his wife Alaire are the creators of the swashbuckling pirate adventure comic, Crown & Anchor.
Outlander: He currently lives in Ontario, Canada.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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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 Juniper characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Nathan Tomsic and Georgiana Brown or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED