A Different World
Fantasy and magic are genres that have been gracing the pages of comics for decades. It takes something really special to grab the attention of new readers or make an impact with all of the competition on the shelves and digital marketplaces. What this week’s Alternative Comics Beat selection does is drop you in on a fun, action-oriented world of urban fantasy that leaves you with just enough to want more.
Written by Rich Douek and drawn by Brett Barkley, Gutter Magic follows a timeline where powerful sorcerers stepped into World War II and changed the course of human history. Cinder and his goblin pal Blacktooth are trying to make a living in this world, but find themselves pursued by some powerful and rough customers.
I’ve become a big fan of urban fantasy over the years. What makes or breaks a great urban fantasy is the balance of spectacle and actual character development. In Douek’s first issue we get a good balance of both. There are moments of danger and suspense, but each moment reflects how the characters react in each situation and what makes them unique from each other.
Barkley’s artwork is a very detailed style that works well with the gritty tones of the Gutter Magic universe. I particularly like the lines and definitions on Blacktooth, who isn’t just an average cartoon goblin. There’s an array of wrinkles on his face that could probably tell their own stories, and that says a lot about a character’s design. The colors by Donna Gregory really compliment Barkley’s artwork. It mixes that bright magic feeling with the musty feeling of a fantastical city.
Why it’s Worth Your Time
I think that this series will appeal to fans of many genres. There’s fantasy, urban crime, steam punk elements, and a buddy action movie vibe between Cinder and Blacktooth. If you’re a fan of series like Skullkickers, Orc Stain, or fantasy RPG games, then you should really check this out. It’s a great alternative to your usual stack and it supports an independent creative team on Comixology. It’s really a double win if you think about it. Or don’t think about – just try it!
Ken Porter also writes comic books with his latest being "Ink Ribbon" from Visionary Comics. Ken was also the winner of this year's Top Cow Talent Search contest.