What Did I Learn?
This review is on Tales of a Checkered Man by Denver Brubaker. If you have read this comic at all, you can tell that Denver loves supers comics. Many of the characters are well done homages to supers archetypes.
An ongoing serial, the Checkered Man patrols Exotic City in search of criminals and witty banter, all in spite of his acrophobia and being a fairly average guy. His choice of costume includes a red union suit, ski mask, fedora, jersey gloves and a checkered tablecloth around his neck. (The sketch page mentions fishing waders but waders don’t have buttons.)
There is also an appropriately evil nemesis and a melodramatic narrator who echoes the style of our hero’s dialog. The dialog and the character expressions suit the comic perfectly and each comic both advances the story and shows character.
Tales of a Checkered Man is done black and white in newspaper strip form. With grey tones, DRAMATIC SHADOWS AND SPOT BLACKS. I’m a bit biased toward these things, for which I blame Mignola, Eastman and Laird.
I also like the explanations of the basis of the comic’s look and the insight into the making of the first comic.
Sometimes the reuse of backgrounds can detract from a comic’s reading experience but I think it works to reinforce the tone in Tales of a Checkered Man. How can I describe it?
It didn’t hit me conciously until reading the comments here, but it definitely carries that old radio program feel. A touch melodramatic, which is amusing without skipping out on the undercurrent of thrills. One commenter was reminded of Darkwing Duck – although there are similarities, Darkwing works better as an animated cartoon because the voices add significantly to the whole, I think.
See the bits below the comic sketch? Someone has to ask Denver who needs to ‘approve’ each comic?
My only gripe is that the dialog is sometimes a little small, like in this comic. (Obviously the mutters and whispers are appropriately much smaller.) It could be my eyes starting to fail me and maybe I need reading glasses – and the dialog does seem larger in later comics but let’s not trust my eyes. Perhaps in print it will be more easily readable for me – and I’m pretty sure this will see print one day.
As of the completion of this review, we are left with only candy clues. Pretty sweet.
What Did I Learn?
This is one of those comics whose elements are all in order. You sometimes might find yourself reading a webcomic and thinking “If only they…” It’s nice to read a comic where you only find yourself wondering “What will happen next?” If you haven’t jumped over and read Tales of a Checkered Man all the way through yet, now is the time.