Some of the most creative comics are coming out in digital format first these days. Last week, for instance, I reviewed Edison Rex, a great book if you haven’t given it a chance yet.
This week, I want to talk about Pawn Shop, written by Captain Ultimate co-creator Joey Esposito, which is about 180 degrees the other direction. But it’s still a book not to be missed! PAWN SHOP #1
Writer: Joey Esposito
Art: Sean Von Gorman
Publisher: Soup Dad Comics
Cover Price: $0.99
Previously in PAWN SHOP: “Pawn Shop is the interconnected tale of four New York City residents – a widower, a nurse, a punk, and a city employee – whose lives are woven together through the ecosystem of the Big Apple. It’s the story of four lives out of eight million.”
THE MYSTERY THAT IS NEW YORK CITY
Many comics take place in New York City. Let’s face it – to those of us who haven’t lived there, it’s a huge enigma. So many people are packed into that space! There are smaller communities within the city, and they each seem to have their own personalities. When I’ve visited there, I always look up to see the buildings above, a sure sign I don’t live there.
My brother likes to say that in the Marvel Universe, by this time, all the super-powered battles that have taken place there would mean that New York City would’ve been completely rebuilt at least five times.
With all the people there, it’s hard for the rest of us to imagine being alone in NYC. Still, it can be one of the loneliest places to live, I understand, even though there is so very much to do 24/7.
This book talks about the “real” New York City, where people interact, but even they don’t realize the connections they have with each other. And that’s a story worth reading.
LIFE AS THEY KNOW IT
One of the coolest parts of the book is that each chapter comes with a playlist of music appropriate for the story taking place. I can imagine hearing the songs coming out of windows or in the locations where the stories happen. That’s part of the very “real” aspects of the comic.
Each person we see “breathes” like someone we’d actually bump into in the Big Apple. Harold, the retired man, is on a mission to recapture some of the love of his life. Male nurse Arthur has a crush on a girl he interacts with regularly, but can’t bring himself to move to the next level. Jen, a punk, experiences the seamy side of the city. Finally, there’s Samantha, who works for the city, but is facing an important life change she’s hesitant to make.
This week, the first chapter has been released, and you can download it from comixology at this link. Look for the other chapters to be released each week until the last day of the month. “We wanted to try something different for the digital debut of Pawn Shop, and thanks to the folks at comiXology, we could,” Esposito said about the serialized release. “The comiXology Submit program is a game changer, and I’m so glad Pawn Shop could be a part of that family.”
Oh, and it’s called Pawn Shop because there is one of those businesses that is integral to the book.
THE ART MATCHES THE TONE OF THE SERIES
I always feel that New York City has a “gritty” feel to it, rough around the edges and further inside. It’s busy and has a nervous feeling, especially to those of us who don’t live there.
That’s why Mr. Von Gorman’s art is perfect for this series. He gives each panel a sketchy feel, a little rough while clearly portraying the people and the city around them. Not every reader is going to like that style, but it’s just what the script needs.
He handles the touching sequences just as well as the ugly ones, and I thought I was reading this in NYC since I felt transported there.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s a Gripping Tale of Reality You’ll Want More of
This week’s release focuses on Harold, and he reminds me so much of my own father before he passed. I was touched by what he did and how he did it. I think you will be, too.
I’ve been fortunate enough to read all the chapters, so I can say that they all moved me, but not always in the same ways. It shows Mr. Esposito’s ability to write many different kinds of stories, and I find it interesting that I need to remind myself that this is a co-creator of Captain Ultimate, the books are so different. But you know me, I LOVE variety, and this book seriously scratched that itch for me this week.
I can see Pawn Shop II as a real possibility. After all, there are literally millions of stories to be told in New York City!
I highly recommend this series! Don’t miss out on something very special when it comes to comics!