A great review by new buddy and awesome co-creator of the book DIY Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. I met him through my Chicago Comicon 2009 tablemate, Mark Stegbauer (who also awesomely illustrated the survival guide!). Anyways... i agve Bud copies of my Wicket and Imp collection as part o' a trade of books... and he was kinda enough to not only read them (woo!) but also jump at the chance when i said "hey... why dontcha right a review too!" So here it is!
CAUTIONARY FACT: THERE BE STORYLINE SPOILERS- TREK WARILY
From the keyboard of Mr. Bud:
"I have been given the singular honor and privilege of reviewing Jon Kulczars 'Wicket and Imp'. I met Jon at WizardWorld Chicago, this past August, and he generously presented me with copies of 'The Wicket and Imp 2010 Collection', 'Wicket and Imps Dirty Shorts, Vol. 1' and 'The Wickets Furry Bits Precursor'.
I proceeded to read these tomes over the period of one weekend, two weeks after getting home from the Con (Sorry, Jon. I had to read my Blackest Night collection first). Upon reflection, reading all three books in essentially one sitting may have been a mistake (I think I sprained a temporal lobe), but, whats done is done.
For those of you who dont already know, the premise of the strip is as follows: After Jon is mugged, beaten and left for dead in an alley (dont worry, he survives), a being called Dracon appears and conjures wicket-a cross between Jons childhood teddy-bear and an Ewok (or a Mowgai/gremlin, Im not sure which) with a bad attitude-from Jons imagination and charges him with protecting the world-also a product of Jons imagination-from the chaos that resulted from Jons injury (on the whole, not Dracons best idea, since Wicket is chaos personified, but, I digress). Wicket observes that this is a pretty big job for one guy, so Dracon conjures forth Imp-a doodle from Jons childhood, who bears a passing resemblance to Walt Kellys Albert the Alligator-to act as Wickets sidekick. The wackiness then ensues. Our heroes meet up with vampire pigs, bowling snakes, megalomaniacal cats, homicidal bunnies, turd monsters, commando ducks, zombies, volleyball playing monkeys and Death-called Reap- repackaged as a childs toy by Hells marketing division.
What impressed me most about this strip, is Jons utterly fearless storytelling. He writes and draws unapologetically and with incredible energy. As a reader, you just grab on and hold tight or get left behind. His no-frills art style is surprisingly effective in its simplicity. The characters look consistent from panel to panel and theres no difficulty identifying the various items that are used (the A-3 Warthog/Cobra Rattler was instantly recognizable). Jons use of visual humor is also quite effective. The panel of Imp looking in the mirror and seeing not only his reflection, but that of his dialog balloon, complete with backwards writing, was one of the most brilliant sight-gags Ive ever seen in comics.I also love the fact that Jon has no problem kicking down the fourth wall. His characters know that theyre in a comic and will frequently look up out of the panel to argue with Jon, ask a question or make an aside to the reader(This is harmed a bit by Jon having himself appear in a couple of the stories, but only slightly). All of this makes for a highly enjoyable read.
However, there is a down side (sorry, Jon). The flatness of the art and lack of detail sometimes make it easy to miss things in the background ( the pit in the living room in issue #3 leaps to mind), and often the action on the page is so busy, that its hard to follow. Also, some scenes went on far too long (the golf course), while others (the boys dissecting the Terminator franchise), didnt go on long enough. In addition, I found Jons use of profanity and rape jokes to be excessive. Some profanity can be funny, but its easy to overdo it. I must confess that as a Christian, the vampire Jesus bit left me cold. Finally, I dont know whether to applaud or be shocked by Jons chutzpah in killing off Imp in issue #5 (although, how Imp could be killed when Reap was fighting alongside him and Wicket, Im not quite sure). I realize that Jon was making a statement about the indiscriminate hand of death, but still, it took a lot of guts, particularly to kill Imp in so gruesome a fashion. That said, and this being comics, I think that Jon needs to find a way to resurrect Imp. Wicket needs a straight man (as all good comedy duos do), and Reap doesnt really fill the bill. In any case, despite my negative comments, Im a confirmed 'Wicket and Imp' fan, and Im anxiously awaiting the next collection."
THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE KIND AND INSIGHTFUL WORDS BUD
I'M VERY HAPPY TO COUNT YA AMONG THE WICKET AND IMP FAITHFUL!
And by all means, Wicket and Imp fans... please go check out Mark, Bud and John's awesome book. it is utterly fabulous! you can find mark here on DA at:
and the book here:[link]