METALSHARK BRO, VOL. 1
Writer: Bob Frantz & Kevin Cuffe
Illustrator: Walter Ostlie
Publisher: Scout Comics
WHAT IS IT?
It's in the title, bro, but it's so much more! It's a metal-comedy filled with wild art, endless puns and a good dose of imagination.
Imagine Metalocalypse meets Shark Week.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
A shark's transformed from his finned, fishy self into an instrument of righteous destruction by Beelzebra, a layabout demon, to check off his kill list while he gets down to some serious partying.
The problem? Metalshark just wants to be a shark, bro! He honestly didn't mean to eat the dude Beelzebra was after.
So he's gotta bust some skulls and brains and limbs to try and find his way back to Beelzebra and get some serious, thrashin' revenge. He's joined along the way by Ira, a flying eye with a top hat who could potentially be some sort of Elder God. We think. We hope?
Anyway. FIN YEAH!
The concept, top to bottom. Metalshark Bro is chock full of ideas, each one more ridiculous and fun than the last, and the book is a riot from start to finish. This comic is a perfect example of what total commitment by a creative team means when it comes to delivering a comedy book. It's harder than you'd think, and Metalshark Bro rips.
The character design. Ostlie has a never-ending bag of visual tricks that smashes 2000 AD pastiche, metal album covers and the cartoons of our youth together in a delightful visual blender. Ira, the Ninja Nuns, Beelzebra and even Satan himself are all tricked out in unique outfits and colors, and the book feels like a considered package because of the care Ostlie takes in making each body pop. Metalshark himself sports an excellent leather jacket, a gently blocked face, long angular limbs and the perfect shade of blue to help keep him accessible and kinda cute while reminding us that, duh, he's a shark. He kills things. It's kinda what he's made to do.
The storytelling. Frantz & Cuffe don't let up for a second. Each page is chock full of well-paced plot and a good dose of goofiness. Plus, if you'd like to look a little deeper than the surface, this book's an excellent look at character growth. Even if you're not an anthropomorphized shark who has to reap souls to get back to the ocean. The final battle of the volume is a great balance of melancholy and humor, and that's down to the writers taking their time in developing sympathy for Metalshark and his predicament.
The lettering. Greenleaf packs this book with sound effects and unique fonts for each of the villains without straying from a defined style. There's a ton of dialogue to contend with, and Ostlie's smaller panels often feature a shocking amount of detail. That adds up to a serious challenge for balloon placement, but Ostlie keeps them small, concise and flowing clearly so we can absorb all the quips and one-liners while Metalshark's doing his thing.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
The chaos. As fun as this book can be, there are a few points where there's just too much going on to parse, and some of the softer hues in the color palette mean things can blend together pretty quickly. I want to see those demonic doughnuts in Technicolor, darn it!
Occasionally, there's a quip or a joke that feels ill-timed or superfluous when the action on the page could carry the comedy moment. We could do with one or the other, and given how bonkers the story is, my preference is the visual gag.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
It's a comic about a metal shark who murders his way to victory. It's ridiculous, well-executed, detailed, imaginative and tons of aquatic, guitar-shreddin' fun.
Plus, Volume 2 was successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year, so you better catch up while you can!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Howard the Duck by Steve Gerber & various artists
Badger by Mike Baron & Jeff Butler
Die! Die! Die! by Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple & Chris Burnham
If you like the art:
Death Orb by Ryan Ferrier & Alejandro Aragón
Grendel by Matt Wagner
Ogre by Bob Salley & Shawn Daley
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Bob Frantz & Kevin Cuffe – Writers
Got the idea for this comic from a radio DJ reading a story about scientists playing AC/DC for sharks
Worked together previously on "The Elvis Adventures"
Walter Ostlie – Artist
Taught himself to write and draw, and has been making comics for over a decade
Streams his art sessions weekly on Twitch
Shawn Greenleaf – Letterer
Multitalented: he's also a graphic designer who runs his own studio
Not his first humor rodeo - he's worked on comics like "Escape from Jesus Island"
Chas Pangburn – Editor
Multitalented: Though he edits other comics, like Metalshark Bro, he also writes and letters comics, too!
Also has some film credits
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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