Footprints #1-2A comic review article by: Jamil Scalese
I don't think it would absurd to guess that a good chunk of Comic Bulletin's visitors -- and really most comic fans -- are aspiring creators themselves. What is it about our hobby that makes us regular guys think we can do it, too?
For anyone that has done research in how to "break in" -- and I mean more than sit in on a comic-con panel with panelists who essentially repeat the same thing every year ("Keep trying!" "Everyone got here in different ways!" "Don't suck!") -- you know how important it is to sum your comic's idea up in a nice pithy sentence for submission to a major publisher. While it's debatable how fair that request it, it's practical for the purposes of the limited time submission editors have and their ability to gauge the marketability of the product. How does this relate this Footprints? Well, it might have one of sexiest summaries of all time: Bigfoot, a hardboiled, noir style detective , must reunite his mythological monster friends to solve the murder of his estranged brother, Yeti.
Without seeing art or knowing much about the creators, that premise grabbed me and forced me to give the first two issues of the comic a try. I'm glad to say that the content of Esposito and Moore's original title fulfilled the promises made by the one sentence premise. To make this work the world they created is a tad like True Blood, but with different fake creatures. The mythical cast features Bigfoot, a snarky Jersey Devil, a prostitute Loch Ness Monster, a yet-developed Megalodon and a mute, pet-like Chupacabra named Choop. These creatures live amongst the rest of us after Bigfoot and Yeti came out of the hiding in the 1940s thus blowing the lid on weird things worldwide. The pacing is great in the first issues, with the story smoldering like a hardboiled crime novel. Everyone once in awhile an oddity creeps up, and it feels out of place, then you remember the protagonist is covered in fur and a giant shark is wearing a Robin mask.
Don't misunderstand, Footprints is as noir as it gets. Bigfoot's narration has as much gristle and general disdain as any contemporary genre comic can muster. A lot of that is due to Jonathan Moore's rugged yet clean panels. His pencils and inks thrive in the setting and the flexibility of the style allows the tone to fit equally for a murder scene and a round table of anthropomorphic animals. The page to page consistency is remarkable for an independent work. The best genre for black and white is noir and the story works in tandem with the pencils to create a traditional feel. One knock is that sometimes the panels are so ashy it's hard to distinguish between the Foot brothers or the particular expressions of the characters. Overall though, an awesome job.
Esposito has engineered this novel concept into a great story that is only beginning to ramp up in the first two issues. The premise has long-term capability, and the current tale is bolstering enough to warrant more. In the now, however, the story does lull at moments and sometimes the old-school detective aspects dominate over the more outrageous ones. It's not a bad thing, because like I said, this is surely a noir comic before anything else.
You can read Footprints #1 for FREE below (thanks to Joey Esposito for letting us share it!) as well as at 215 Ink's iPad App. If you like it, you can also buy issues directly from 215 Ink -- a strong recommendation for someone looking for something familiar with a uniquely fresh feel.
Jamil Scalese is just like you -- an avid comics fan and lover of sequential art. Residing in Pittsburgh, PA, he is an unapologetic Deadpool fan, lover of the Food Network and proud member of Steelers Nation.