I feel I may be a little late on the POOD bandwagon here. I order my comics through DCBS and they ship them after the last comic day of the month. This means that I usually will receive my comics around the first Tuesday of the following month.
So I got my very own copy of Big If Comics' POOD #1 (two copies, actually) and after about a week of reading (I could only digest two pages at a time) I am now ready to share with you my thoughts, fears and hopes. Or I could just tell you what I thought of POOD.
To get this thing started, let's recap what we already knew about POOD. Here's the solicitation from the PREVIEWS:
POOD #1 (MR)
(W/A) Various Pood is a larger, broadsheet-style comics anthology in the manner of DC Comics' Wednesday Comics, featuring 16 of today's most exciting alternative comics creators. Celebrating the variety and style of Sunday comics sections of the pre-World War II-era, each creator has a full page to display their dynamic talents in strips of comedy, adventure, parody, and science fiction.
What arrived in my box from DCBS was exactly what was described. It came out larger than WEDNESDAY COMICS and that was a pleasant surprise. Each creator had a full page to him or herself and a wide variety of ideas and genres were found within. One thing was for certain, though... It was definitely indie.
Now before we go much further into this review let's view the video ad that Big If Comics put out to promote POOD...
Pretty exciting, huh?
Well... Now that you're in the POOD zone, let's begin the review.
Here's the rundown of the strips in the first issue:
(Links to individual cartoonist's sites or blogs where available)
Sara Edward-Corbett - "Babyslithers"
Kevin Mutch - "Super Love People"
Fintan Taite - "The Ring"
Tobias Tak - "Don't Forget to Remember"
Lance Hanson - "Tenderfoot"
Henrick Rehr - "Nevertheless Alive"
Adam McGovern & Paolo Leandri - "Cloverleaf"
Mark Sunshine - "Work Projection Administration"
Bishakh Som - "Sunita"
Andres Vera Martinez - "Leanor"
Chris Capuozzo - "Giraffe Trapping Music"
Hans Rickheit - "Cochlea and Eustachia"
Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca - "USApe"
Connor Willumsen - "Fiddle Song"
Geoff Grogan - "Cafe Oopzoo"
Joe Infurnari - "Rammy and Soupy"
I was impressed by the whole package. POOD is a great collection of strips showcasing a wide variety of styles.
One of the key pieces that stood out for me was Tobias Tak's "Don't Forget to Remember" which had me tempted to cut my precious POOD up to put the page on my wall. I had bought a second copy of the comic to let friends read but it may end up as bedroom art...
The art of Hans Rickheit's "Cochlea and Eustachia" was very solid and reminded me of Richard Corben. The story, itself, has a steampunk theme and is a very inviting preview of things to come.
The third strip that got my attention was "Cloverleaf" by Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri. It's a tale that reminds us of what we lose when small towns are swallowed up to make room for the expanding bigger cities and the roads that connect them. What grabbed me first was the art that brought to mind Mike Allred's older stuff. I've read that others have compared it to Jack Kirby but for me it was Allred.
All of the features in POOD are worth reading and those are just the ones that stood out above the rest to me.
Connor Willumsen's "Fiddle Song" (which can be viewed here) is a great example of how some of the artists utilized their workspace. However, there were quite a few, like Fintan Taite and Sara Edward-Corbett, that stuck to the traditional panel layouts. I was actually glad that they didn't all go for the poster effect as I think that would've lessened the impact of the ones that did.
The only problem I had with POOD #1 had nothing to do with the content. Rather, it was a technical issue.
"Nevertheless Alive" seems to have died in production as I couldn't figure out what it was. Was it just art? Was there a story to it? What are all the designs representing? I couldn't decipher it.
Then on "Work Projection Administration" I just got frustrated as there WAS a story. And the art was good, too. Unfortunately, the first half of the strip appears to have been done originally as comic pages and were shrunk down to fit in the feature. This led to a lot of the words being hard to read and although the story was interesting enough I had to skip over half of it.
Hopefully, that won't be a problem with the second issue as I'm sure they're still fine-tuning the format. I'm really looking forward to #2 which I hear is slated for a November release.
I give POOD #1 4 out of 5 Stars.
Go read it.