Review Day Tuesday – The Electric Team

Ah yes, another find from Cleveland’s very own Genghis Con (yes, that’s its name). This is another book I found in 2017, much like Multi- from last week. And much like last week’s pick, this comic is another selection of intriguing writing and lackluster art. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The story opens, weirdly enough, with an older explorer explaining how he and his team – or what’s left of his team – got to where they are. They’re explaining themselves so that the older explorer can ask whoever he’s talking to, to please take in his infant daughter and raise her in safety. And you turn the page and…

Unicorns.

The main character in this adventure is a little girl abandoned by her father to be raised by unicorns.

…Ok let me talk about the authors of this book: Abigail Connor and Leighton Connor. When this comic was written, Abigail was six. Leighton is Abigail’s dad.

Now, I haven’t read Axe Cop – but that comic came to mind after I wrote that sentence. A younger child relaying the story to an older adult and the adult writing and drawing the story down? I feel like this should be a subgenre within comics.

Knowing, though, that the co-writer of this story is a six-year-old girl makes The Electric Team make a LOT more sense.

I mean – the Electric Team is a superhero squad led by a young woman raised by unicorns. And The Electric Team is introduced as they fight a squad of humanized vegetables. Led by Commander McCarrot.

And in order to save the world, the Electric Team has to fight 1000 bad guys.

This. Is. A. Kid’s. Comic.

Knowing this makes the art make a lot more sense, as well. The art is not drawn by Abigail – the depth of field within any particular panel is too deep for a six-year-old to draw.

The art is done by Samantha Albert – and Samantha has done better art since this book came out. I remember Sam mentioning that this book was one of her first comics put to print. I’m happy to say that after reading this first issue, then looking at the webcomic site, Samantha’s art has VASTLY improved over time.

This first issue’s art isn’t…awful. But it’s unskilled – which is fitting for a story aimed at children, co-written by a six-year-old. On the plus side, as Leighton put it in his afterward in the comic, Samantha can “choreograph a fight scene and draw unicorns unironically.” And both of those skills are very important in a concept as whacky as a woman raised by unicorns and her team of superheroes who must fight 1000 bad guys to save the world.

So if a child in your life is looking for the next epic superhero adventure, encourage them to try The Electric Team.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

REVIEW DAY TUESDAY: Sugar Town by Hazel Newlevant

Let me start this review by saying this book is deliciously refreshing.

I came across Sugar Town during Awesome Con weekend of 2018. My buddy Carlos and I went to Fantom Comics and I spotted this little beauty on the shelf. Of course, the cover and the review quotes on the back got my attention, so I had to get it.

This is the story of a lady named Hazel, who’s staying in Portland for a few days to visit family and celebrate her birthday. During her stay, she meets and crushes on Argent, a totally cool lady… and Hazel also stays in touch with her boyfriend, who’s back in New York City.

Yep. This is a book about polyamory.

Now let me make this point real fast: I am not polyamorous, but I can get the appeal of it. I have friends who are poly and they’ve clued me in about how it works and how to make it work. Polyamory is a “weird” concept only because here in good ol’ US of A, monogamy is treated as the default. It’s just culturally assumed that “soulmates” are a thing and there’s only one “right one” for someone else and you better find them in your lifetime and marry them and have lots of babies and UUUUUGH.

That said, polyamory could be seen as an anarchist statement against “the system” of monogamous marriage arrangements. To which I say, “…Maybe?”

And there are still others who look at polyamory and say, “Those people are just indecisive and think they can have everything!” To which I say, “No.”

Polyamorous people know what they want. What they want is to love, and to be in relationships with, more than one person at the same time. And if they can make it work, kudos.

Ok, point made. Back to the comic.

Sugar Town is the story of a poly-amorous relationship done right. It’s also one of the VERY FEW stories with girl-on-girl love where both characters are not only alive, but still in love by the end of the story. That’s freakin’ rare.

This is also one of the few stories with queer main characters who aren’t 110 percent in absolute angst over their status as queer. Hazel, the main character, has the occasional moment of questioning whether she’s doing it right. But that’s only because she’s so new to polyamory.

The characters are charming as heck, and the art has such lovely saturated colors. The art also does this thing where every set location has a different color scheme, and it’s wonderful.

Really, the only problem I have with Sugar Town is that it’s so short. It’s one of the skinniest trade paperbacks I’ve read thus far, at 40 pages long. However, it’s not really a problem: the story doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, and I always enjoy going back to it. Sugar Town is a book you can read and re-read and still get enjoyment out of it. At least, for me.

If you can get a copy of this book, do it. It’s available directly from Hazel Newlevant’s website.

Oh! And one more thing before we split: somehow it didn’t click in my head during the first read-through that the main character has the same name as the author. However, as an artist, I know how fraught it is to point to a piece of work an artist made and declare, “That’s you!” This work may have bits of autobiography to it, or it could be all autobiographical. I don’t know. What I do know is that this is a work of fiction, and we, as readers, should respect that.

Ok. That’s it for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

Action Lab: Dog of Wonder #1 – A Review

This post was originally published on April 12, 2016 at kelcidcrawford.com. It has been re-published here with modifications.

Today I review the first issue of Action Lab: Dog of Wonder. Published by Action Lab Comics (Yes, the title is intentional).

I first saw this book when Action Lab Comics appeared at my local comic shop for a promotional event. I spoke with Vito Delsante, the co-writer on Action Lab #1, who is a really cool guy. Anyway, the comic’s pretty fun and adorable and you should read it if you love all-ages stories about dogs.

To stay up to date on further news and reviews, be sure to follow Kelci on Facebook or Instagram (@kelcidcrawford).