Writer: Nick Bryan Art: Robert Ahmad Publisher: Comichaus
WHAT IS IT?
A genre-bending, multi-verse one-shot with a bonus spin-off comic included in the back.
Between the genre send-ups and the robot introspection, it's like Westworld meets Community.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
One Android acts as a MacGuffin (or a catalyst) for every story in every universe.
Unfortunately, this gets him maimed or killed just about every time. Guy, the Android, has had about enough of it.
But can he gain the agency to escape this life? And, if he can, what happens to every story in the multiverse?
The spin-off story, Wanted: Brave Warriors is a delightful, satirical send-up of the adventure story told in just a few pages.
Nick Bryan is great at being able to tell a solid story within the confines of the one-shot. With each one, it feels more and more like he's finding his voice and getting more talented at (and comfortable with) the medium.
It's clever naming the protagonist "Guy," since he plays a generic guy in each world.
Personally, I'm always a big fan of meta stories like this one. Personifying abstract concepts and giving them desires is just a really fun area to play in.
Similarly, watching Nick Bryan and Robert Ahmad sum up each genre in a simple scene is a blast. They use the tropiest tropes and lean into them for some great comedic moments.
It's impressive how Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou changes some aspects of the lettering, like the captions, based on each genre/universe, yet adheres to an overall style for the font, word balloons, and other aspects of the lettering. His sound effects are also fun, and look bright and bold and hand-drawn.
DC Hopkins's lettering doesn't seem like too far a departure from Otsmane-Elhaou's style, though it looks like he relies on sound effect fonts rather than creating his own. However, his tiny death rattle skulls were adorably macabre.
David Cooper's colors go far to bring each genre to life in a way that plays up the cartoony characteristics of Ahmad's illustration style.
Speaking of which, there's this classic, classy tone to Robert Ahmad's style that feels very Bruce Timm, and his style is such a great, playful one to bring these genres to life.
There's a line in here about Guy being fed into mincers. I'm not sure if that's alluding to something specific, but it reminded me of the SAYER podcast.
Wanted: Brave Warriors was such a fun concept, executed well even in a short space.
Both stories wrap up nicely in a way that feels like they did the stories justice.
You can read it for free if you're a Comichaus subscriber!
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Emily Brady's colors don't really match up with the fantasy realm in the main story, but I feel like that's really nit-picky and probably not her fault. Plus, her colors were really great and brought that world to life in a way that was easy to imagine.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
The Catalyst is a delightfully dark jaunt through multiple genres, put together by a who's-who of fantastic indie comic creators. If you're a fan of indie comics, you need to check it out!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
The Little Deaths of Watson Tower by Nick Bryan & Rosie Alexander
Black Hammer by Jeff Lemire & Dean Ormston
Eternity Girl by Magdalene Visaggio & Sonny Liew
If you like the art:
The Show by Jed McPherson & Robert Ahmad
Batman Adventures: Mad Love Deluxe Edition by Paul Dini & Bruce Timm
Mixtape by various creators
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Nick Bryan – Writer
New Face: This is Nick's first full-length comic!
He's also a novelist
Also discusses stories in his (and Alastair JR Ball's) podcast, Moderate Fantasy Violence
Robert Ahmad – Illustrator
Seems to gravitate toward a simplified, elegant approach to his illustration style that falls between Bruce Timm and Chris Samnee
Outlander: Based in the UK
David Cooper – Colorist
You may remember seeing his name in the "Survivor" anthology from Cog Life Comics
Colored the main story, The Catalyst
Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou – Letterer
Multitalented: Edits PanelxPanel, the digital magazine about comics, and also writes comics & films
Outlander: Lives in the south west of England
Has a comics podcast with Aditya Bidikar called Letters & Lines
Emily Brady – Colorist
Multitalented: Is also a mixed media artist, cartoonist, illustrator and art tutor
Colored the spin-off story, Wanted: Brave Warriors
DC Hopkins – Letterer
Is a staff letterer for AndWorld design, the studio established by Fearscape letterer, Deron Bennett
Multitalented: Co-hosts the horror podcast, Eerie, International, and the comics/pop culture podcast, Hideous Energy
Moniker: His real first name is David, and he chooses not to share what his middle name is
John Lees – Script Editor for The Catalyst
Multitalented: Also writes comics. His new series, The Mountainhead, comes out August 14th and is already gaining a lot of attention from tons of big names in comics.
Outlander: Based in Glasgow, Scotland
Joe Stone – Logo and Cover Design
Multitalented: Has worked "across multiple design disciplines, including brand identity, print, digital, motion, illustration and environmental design for clients such as PlayStation, Google, Puma, MTV and Airbnb"
Outlander: Hails from London
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 Nick Bryan & Robert Ahmad characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Nick Bryan & Robert Ahmad or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED