Feed America's Children Featuring Major Impact
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2005
By: Steve Saville
Creator(s): Mel Smith and Clark Castillo, Paul H. Birch and others
Publishers: Wildcard Production (Self Published)
A brave comic this one. Brave because it takes on an emotionally charged political and social issue [homeless kids]. Brave because when a comic [or for that matter any artistic form] takes on a controversial and emotionally charged issue they run the risk of sounding sanctimonious. They run the risk of being preachy. They run the risk of taking some sort of inappropriate moral high ground. In short they fail miserably at achieving the noble intentions they set out to achieve. Feed America's Children almost falls into this trap but a superior storyline that focuses on character rather than the issue saves it. What we do have then is a pretty sensitive and valid look at an important social issue through the internal crisis of the main character.
In Feed America's Children we are presented with a self- contained storyline featuring Major Impact a crime fighting, costumed super- hero and ex –soldier, where each page is done by a different artist. And quite a stellar line up of artists is represented here. Including Darrick Robertson [Wolverine, Spider-Man], Mark Kuettner [Angel Girl], Keiron Dwyer [Daredevil], Thomas Yeates [Swamp Thing, Conan, Tarzan], Chris Marrinan [Wonder Woman] and Norm Breyfogle [Batman]. I could go on but you get the picture. It should come as no surprise then that this comic looks good. Lavish colour, glossy paper and some outstanding artwork.
These collaborative projects often look good but fail to work as a cohesive entity. A very tight storyline and a good one at that means that Feed America's Children works as a comic. The story does bind the disparate artistic styles together into a satisfying whole. It is obvious that the editors pre-empted potential problems and took a proactive approach in solving them.
The story begins with Major Impact visiting a shelter for homeless children to give them a bit of a pep talk. The talk itself is a miserable failure and our hero does not know how to cope with the sea of blank faces that confront him. This leads to a crisis of confidence on the part of Impact as he questions his role in society, his dilemma ultimately affects his ability to perform his crime fighting tasks and he continues to spiral downwards. It is this focus on Impact's personal crisis that provides the impetus for the comic.
The moral that evolves out of this crisis centres around the fact that his fellow crime fighters at The World Espionage Bureau [WEB] refuse to turn their backs on Impact strive to help their mate find resolution.
To do so they must do battle with a shape- changing, soul- sucking Demon. Plenty of scope for action a plenty then and boy do the artists let fly, the pages that deal with the battle between good and evil are frenetic in pace.
The following quote from the web page provides a better summary than I ever could: Mel Smith and Clark Castillo with assistance from Paul H.Birch have created a tale that uses the fantastic to cast light upon the all too real: the forgotten homeless youth of America! Combining classically dexterous storytelling skills and post-modern delineations over the book's 48 full colour pages, readers can enjoy the visual tour de force.
Oh and for the record the pages that Ken Hooper has worked on are my personal favourites.
Buy it, enjoy it but most importantly think about it.
In a Word: Valid.
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