Writer: Brian John Mitchell
Artwork: Andrew White
Format: Mini comic – 2″ x 2.25″, black & white
Issues: 1 – 4
Publisher: Silber Media Comics
Price: $1 ($2 international)

Brian John Mitchell has discovered a new, interesting and innovative way to create comics. He is the writer on as well as the brains behind the “Silber Bottle Comics” project, using simple one panel per page mini comics. Assisted by a wide variety of artists, covering diverse subjects and different choices in storytelling. Although at first glance this may seem like an easy task, only when one considers the space constraints, one begins to realize how demanding this task can actually be.

I will be reviewing a batch of four issues of these diminutive comics relating to the western genre – Just A Man. I was never really a fan of the cowboys and indians/western genre but the films I enjoyed most and I consider worth viewing are some of the Clint Eastwood classics and The Wild Bunch. The panels in this comic just have the right tone of the aforementioned films; there is the lone rider, revenge, violence and a mystery. This is the story of a retired killer who becomes a farmer but is forced to abandon his quiet and peaceful life to seek vengeance with a gun after his family is massacred.

Sketchy art by Andrew White is sometimes depicted by just the outlines, shadow figures and minimal drawings which help to delineate the loneliness. On some occasions the panels are over shaded to prove the darkness of the tragedy or the age of the individual. Furthermore, the panels which are not the usual straight lined rectangle, but are hand drawn lines, help set the harsh nature of the story.

The writing by Brian John Mitchell is just a one line narration/speech bubble or sentence per panel. It may not be much but does just enough to give an atmospheric feel and keeps the reader yearning for more. Through it strong points of the comic are cleverly revealed, in which each word helps to peel the layers that characterises the protagonist of the story. Each of these four comics ends with a cliff-hanger that keeps the reader wishing for more.

THE GOOD

Although the writing is limited in these mini comics, this does not lessen the quality but on the contrary, I find that Mitchell has total command with regards to storytelling, making it quite impressive in this restricted medium. The same could be said for the art as the rough hard edged lines help to enrich the landscape, surroundings and individuals.

THE NOT SO GOOD

The anatomical portrayal of certain figures is not constant in all the panels. Another aspect is the over done cross hatching pencilling.

THE VERDICT

I encourage comic fans to try one of these tiny, different, handy and easy to read comics, as I highly recommend them. Whilst hoping for a regular ongoing success for this project, I will be on the lookout for more “Just A Man” comics.

For more information kindly visit: http://www.silbermedia.com/comics/

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