Review: Bandette #1 by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover from Monkeybrain Comics

Eliot Cole writes for Bleeding Cool:

What a wonderful slice of caper brilliance. What a shame it is just a slice.

I love this book pretty hard, but it’s tough to stomach the seven cent per page price point. For digital I’m really looking for around the five cent mark. Talking about money in relation to an art form can be cold, but we can flip that here. We love this art form so much, want to put in as much as we can, and to as many places. It’s harder to spread that love when some comics cost more than others. We love this medium, so let’s love as much of it as possible. I do love this, I just can’t afford to.

Back to the love, though; Tobin has been long associated with great all ages stuff from his work at Marvel, and beyond. The good reviews of that work are legion. Having no real experience of his writing, I came in to this fresh (on the artist, too), and it was such a lovely surprise. The lead’s character notes are with us after the first panel that she’s in, with a good feel for her from the end of the same page. Bringing with that a chirpy humour and you get everything you need from her in the small amount of space allotted.

Coover’s art is beautiful, evoking a strong Darwin Cooke feel, but really giving identity to Bandette. It’s not just the character, it’s the book, too. The colour work here with bold and strong colours in the foreground mainly for the actors in the scenes, and muted tones for the backgrounds making it ‘pop’.

It’s the combination of Tobin’s humour and Coover’s ‘popping’ art that make this so much fun.
This is exemplified by the very first page (available in a few previews around the net):

Panels 1 & 2
First framing and first fun! We have framing right from the start. It’s great because it starts you off fast. Whether or not this is intentional isn’t too much of an issue, as it gives a structure and continuity to the visual narrative straight away muting the colours. The second panel is our “AHA!” moment, as our heroine(?) leaps into our lives with a cheeky smile and striking looks. The movement works well, too.

Panels 3 & 4
  More silliness from Tobin, with a little ditty for the catnapping canines, we also get our first close up of Bandette. Whilst there’s not much to her right now, it’s a profile shot, which should allow the reader to get that indelibly marked in their mind. She’s always smiling, too, which is infectious and again sells the *fun* as she breaks in. There’s a young reader’s first conflict, that they’re enjoying this person, but why is she doing bad things (it’s explained on the next page)?

Panel 5
This is just a pretty scene, but I get a very Looney Tunes vibe from the tiptoeing there, not necessarily in the look, but I can just hear the band playing the tip toe music as she makes her way through the house. With that a page is done. It’s brief but that’s due to the pace, not a lack of content.

This particular issue (apart from a brief two page middle) is one long action shot. Which also aids the brevity. However, it’s handled so well. I mentioned the movement in the second panel, and I think that shines throughout. A comic book with poor motion is not a good comic book. Hopefully, though, in future issues we’ll get more time with the various peoples that we’re introduced to here.

I think that it’s fantastic how Tobin and Coover blend the appeal. It’s a book that you can show to a kid (certainly at the moment) and yet an adult will hopefully get both nostalgic joy from the art, fun from the script, and intrigue as to where it’s all headed. Later on, the woman in red’s face out of panel could either be a major player in the long term plot or simply one of many faceless tertiary characters to come.

A large (happy!) part of me want to buy this on the regular, to receive it with joy and enjoy the fun every week. The sad part of me that tells me that I can’t afford the book at this price. It’s a three out of five, down from a definite five if it was eight to ten pages longer.

Bandette #1 by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, published by Monkeybrain Comics and comiXology.

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