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Halo & Sprocket #4

Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"One to Nothing"
"But is it Art...?"
"Cats"

Writer/Artist: Kerry Callen
Publisher: Amaze Ink

Halo & Sprocket focuses on the relationship between a human woman named Katie, an angel nick-named Halo and a robot named Sprocket. Some may think that such a trio makes for prime sitcom material or a one-joke Saturday Night Live skit, but the intelligent, varied humor expressed within these shorts often broaches a philosophical kind of amusement observing the human condition. Mr. Callen though isn't above slapstick.

Mr. Callen's art lacks busy line work. Instead, he opts for a warm, friendly look with simple lines and shading that works to set the mood for the trio of unique friends. His art is quite sophisticated. He can wrench expression from a bucket-of-bolts styled robot like Sprocket. He can make Katie quite cute without relying on outrageous anatomy.

His skill at writing matches the skill inherent in his artwork. In "One or Nothing" while playing an immaculate game of horse, Halo and Sprocket discuss Katie's all too human sayings that when dissected make absolutely no sense. Readers will grin at the nonsensical things we all say--for instance forever and a day .

The comedy also works on another level. Halo and Sprocket are two friends who have another friend in common, and they poke fun at her while she is not present. Their discussion makes their friendship seem very real. Real friends bust each other's chops all the time, but it's very insular. Were a stranger to make such same comments about their absent chum, they would quickly come to her defense.

In "But Is It Art...?" Katie takes Halo and Sprocket to the art exhibit where art of different styles, artists in general, their critics and their admirers get a thorough thrashing. Mr. Callen furthermore explores the schism between painting and photography and then imagines how an angel and a robot may view art.

Mr. Callen does not take the easy way out of simply assuming that a robot would be lost at such an event, and the way in which he finds a piece that Sprocket can appreciate makes sense while departing from cliché. In this story, Katie seems very outgoing and more relaxed. She does not make assumptions about her strange friends and finds a way to accept various kinds of artwork more through their eyes. You can see why these three are friends.

For "Cats" Mr. Callen plays devil's advocate. He gives two sides to identical situations but offers far from parallel viewpoints. I have no love for domestic cats. So, there may be a bias on my part, but I laughed aloud.



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