Category Archives: Reviews – Slave Labor

A Slave Labor Comic About a Slave Laborer

Captain Blood: Odyssey #1
Writer: Matt Shepard
Artist: Mike Shoyket
Letters: David Hedgecock
Editor: Jennifer de Guzman
Publisher: Slave Labor Graphics
Price: $3.50 US

Despite the success of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the pirate-adventure genre hasn’t taken off, at not in the same way that, say, zombies have. Sure, we’ve seen a few pirate comics in recent years — El Cazador and Polly and the Pirates come to mind. Slave Labor’s foray into the genre is adapted from a 1922 novel by Rafael Sabatin, Captain Blood: His Odyssey. I’m not familiar with the source material, but I do know this comic-book adaptation makes me think it must me a helluva fun adventure novel. While the plot here is compelling and well presented and paced, the real star of Captain Blood is the artwork of Mike Shoyket. His sketchy style captures the historical flavor of this piece of fiction incredibly well. He brings an incredible dynamism to the title character, and he makes excellent use of darkness and shadow, enhancing the harsh, tense and foreboding mood perfectly.

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Undead Apocalypse Survival 101

Zombies Calling original graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: Slave Labor Graphics
Price: $9.95 US

I’ve been hearing good things about Faith Erin Hicks’s new work, The War at Ellsmere, so I was disappointed to find that my local comic shop had already sold out of its initial order of the book. I’m waiting for a copy to arrive, but I figured I’d check out the writer/artist’s first major work. I’d heard of Zombies Calling before, but I opted not to pick up a copy, dismissing it as just likely the latest in a long line of competent but typical zombie comics. I’m glad the Ellsmere buzz got me to change my mind.

Zombies Calling is a thoroughly entertaining piece of pop culture. Hicks satirizes the zombie genre and celebrates all at once, but what makes the book so engaging is the strong characterization. In the back of the book, Hicks admits to enjoying the works of writer/producer Joss Whedon, and his influence is apparent here. But there’s a much more grounded, genuine quality to her characters that reminds me of my own youth (from a decade and a half ago, yikes).

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