MR. SCOOTLES - issue numbers 1-2
Mr. Scootles is created and published by H.C. Noel, a book that I'd heard about and been intrigued by the premise of some time ago, one of dozens of books I'd been meaning to pick up if I ever had the chance. Maybe you've heard of Mr. Scootles too? It's been featured on Newsarama.com and in Wizard Edge. Well, turns out Howie (long for H.) was a friend of a friend, and we'd started talking shop online, so we set up a book swap, and I recently received the first two issues of the series (issue 3 will be available at the upcoming SPX). The book follows two animation students who "obtain" a really old reel of film featuring a lost cartoon character from the 1930's named Mr. Scootles. From there, things get strange, and set our story into motion.
Basically Scootles asks, "What becomes of your creations when you abandon them?", and sets out to answer that question. The story balances the plot line of the students who find the film, a professor on the campus (up to nefarious deeds), the 1930's backstory of Scootles through his creator (morbidly over the edge, and riddled with insanity), and Scootles' (the black and white cartoon character himself) journey from limbo to purgatory.
The storyline is decidedly dark, exploring themes of mental health, mortality, and the afterlife, however the book is handled with a light touch. Noel employs a sharp wit and skill in the script that offsets the heavy nature of the story, and an even lighter touch with the unique cartoonish, stylized artwork. Not only does this balance the elements nicely, it's this pure creative vision at play within, that makes for the best creator-owned comics. Noel's personality is ingrained in every element of the book, and that's what makes Scootles so strong, it's a vision and story unlike anything we've seen before. In a medium that blends words and pictures, to me, that's the highest praise a comic book can achieve. Comics as art.
Okay, I got a little heavy there, but my point is not that Scootles is fine art, but that it does what I look for from comics, it brings someone's crazy ideas to life, in a truly unique and interesting way. I can't wait for more!
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - Great concept, and themes. Heavy dark stuff, but told in a fun, witty way, with nicely stylized artwork.
You can preview the books, and learn more at the creator's website, HERE