Writer/Artist: J. Marc Schmidt
Publisher: SLG Publishing
What immediately grabbed me, and no doubt countless others, about Egg Story, was the quirky premise; it's literally a story about some eggs, one of which becomes a ninja. But on reading the book, it's clear that there's a great deal more to it than simply some crazy cartoon fun; these characters have real depth and personality, and as such their story becomes quite compelling. There's a wonderful logic and realism to the whole thing; the eggs face separation anxiety as they're taken from their mother, while she seems to realise that she's on a production line and so is dispassionate and detached to her children in the brief time they have together, not wanting to form an attachment when they’re inevitably going to be separated. A crack in the shell leads to a character becoming, both literally and figuratively, a "bad egg," with disastrous results; and one character later undergoes an unexpected (for him) change, but nonetheless sticks with the friends he no longer fits in with. Yes, the characters are eggs, but the emotions and feelings they go through are very real, and that's what makes the book a success; everyone can identify with at least some of the characters and situations in this book.
But it's not all serious examination of human/egg nature; Egg Story is also a great deal of fun. Feather's decision to become a ninja may stem from a conviction that he will not be treated like a mere egg and be turned into an omelette, but it also makes for some funny scenes as he tries to become employed as a mysterious martial arts master. Similarly, Connor's slow corruption is sad and horrific, but also allows for some gruesomely amusing moments as his mind starts to slip, and Schmidt's decision to play him like the infected guy from every zombie movie you've ever seen is a masterstroke.
Schmidt's art is somewhat less successful, particularly when the human world intrudes into that of the eggs, but in terms of storytelling and characterisation he does fine work. The eggs have a very simple and limited character design, but Schmidt nonetheless manages to give them a broad range of expressions and emotions; he also makes good choices of panel arrangements and "camera" angles that convey exactly the right moods and emotions. All in all, Egg Story doesn't look as good as it could, but it more than adequately does its job and largely fits the tone of the book.
If Egg Story were an animated movie, it would be proclaimed as a masterpiece; it's just as good in comic form, and at this price it would be a shame to miss out. This is a wonderful allegory about human nature; put aside just one of your House of Incontinent Crises comics this month and instead treat yourself to a touching story packed with real characters and real personalities.
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