Introduction:I loved how this comic came about. David Gallaher and Steve Ellis had an idea, developed a story, created a presentation, and then went to their fans to fund it through the website Kickstarter. The fans answered to their pitch with a resounding yes and the duo met their goal and then some. The comic made its debut at Comic-Con International and is now available for purchase through Comixology. It's like a Disneyesque version of how comics are made where everything falls into place and that was very cool to see.
VitalsTitle: The Only Living Boy
Writer: David Gallaher
Artist: Steve Ellis
Color Flatting: Mike Paar
Letters: Scott O. Brown
Content: The Only Living Boy is for all ages. It contains action, adventure, and some blood.
Publisher: Bottled Lightning
Cost: Print - $6.99 Digital - $.99
Story:The story centers around Erik Farrell, a twelve year old boy from New York City. His journey begins when he runs away from home, away from the darkness of his everyday life. Rain forces him to seek shelter and when he awakes, he finds himself much farther from home than he even dared to hope. Erik is in a new land filled with jungles, ruins, and monsters and his wits are put to test right off the bat when a trio of nightmarish creatures known as Alku set upon him.
He is momentarily rescued by a fierce warrior creature named Morgan and the two must fight back the monsters. His elation at being rescued is short lived though when they are overcome and captured. This time he awakens in a crude cell, the prisoner of Doctor Once and his cruel tests. Erik must find a way to escape or he will become a test subject of the Doctor or will become an unwilling participant in the arena and will have to fight to the death.
Review:Gallaher and Ellis have done a great job with the world they have created. It really seems to pay homage to the many cartoons I (and I bet they) grew up with like Thundarr the Barbarian, Dungeons and Dragons, and Thundercats to name a few. We have this post apocalyptic world that changes on a whim and contains just about every landscape one could imagine. It is a land filled with stunning vistas, hideous monsters, and terrible villains and it is a setting that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I also enjoyed the overall story as well. Erik must use his wits and streetsmarts to survive as he isn’t much when physically compared to many of his foes. At first I thought the transition from Earth to this world was weak, but the explanation later on of how the master of this domain is one who steals parts of many worlds to combine into his own was pretty slick. Did Erik just get snatched up in this land grab or is there a reason the dragon Baalikar brought Erik over to be the only living boy in this nightmare land? I think the answers will be very interesting.
The art by Ellis and company was quite well done and brought this land and cast of characters to life. I liked the many different character designs that seemed to touch on some of our own world’s mythos, but gave each one a twist. The demonic looking Alku or the proud water breathing Mermidonian were great concepts and the fact that just about anything could appear in this land and make sense was quite an accomplishment.
Probably my one main critique would be in the internal monologue of twelve year old Erik. I work with elementary kids all the time, and he seemed out of place among most twelve year old kids I know. This could easily be the reason he is whisked away and it may be explained later on, but he just seems quite mature for his age and his thought process would seem to be of a much older person.