Wannabe, the #2

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2006
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Wannabe, the #2 Creator(s): Chris Hollmer
Publishers: Self Published
From: USA
Price: $3.00(US)

Great name for a comic, Wannabe, I love it. As it turns out the title sums up a good deal about the comic’s main character. On the surface this comic presents us with a fairly clichéd concept. Mild mannered family man sees his pregnant wife gunned down and turns vigilante to gain revenge for the destruction of his perfect life.

We have all seen movies or read comics [and sometimes seen film versions of comic books] that deal with similar material. In most cases these are bleak, dark and ultra-violent, to the extent that we almost expect a specific style to be used whenever this storyline appears.

This is where Wannabe differs, it refuses to conform to the stereotyped approach of the vigilante/revenge genre and, in fact, often seems to be struggling to fit into any categorisation, but maybe this is deliberate. You see the main character, Erik Miller, salesman extraordinaire, is a bit of a jerk, a bit of a wannabe and this tends to make his attempts at vigilante retribution appear a little ridiculous. Erik Miller is just an ordinary guy who is thrown into a world where he doesn’t really fit and as a result finds it difficult to be taken seriously. For example when Erik buys his martial arts weaponry the stall-holder sarcastically refers to him as "Bruce Lee", the gun salesman calls him "Rambo." When he buys his vigilante uniform [trench coat and boots] the saleslady calls him the "Terminator." The fact that Erik seems to have serious bladder and bowel issues also undercuts his macho status. It is difficult to see him as a "hard" man when he is constantly having to rush to the bathroom to make use of "half a roll of toilet paper." Again in his initial attempt to play vigilante he succeeds in making a fool of himself, although he does mange to "take out" a particularly mean looking rat.

Erik just seems to be out of his league, for goodness sakes he makes a list of what he has to do to track down the evil member of the Russian mafia that he wants to get revenge on, he even compiles a shopping list for his weapons.

The art reinforces this impression, heavily "cartoony" and not in the least "dark". In fact one of the more noticeable artistic techniques employed here is a confident use of white and empty space. Backgrounds are often simplified and most frames favour white over black and grey as the dominant tone. This does give the comic a nice "roomy" feel that works well. In fact overall this comic is visually very impressive. The art-work is crisp and well executed. In particular Courtney shows that he has a real strength in his ability to portray a wide range of emotions through facial expression.

There are many delightful touches in this comic that combine to make it a very rewarding read. The use of an internal monologue that runs alongside the dialogue adds real depth to the main character and allows a complex character to be developed. The cover itself is a treat with the background urban city-scape being made up of a mix of skyscrapers and huge bottles of alcohol.

Another nice touch is the way that Chris seizes the opportunity to have a "go" at Walmart and Mc Donalds. In fact I am sure that the weapon buying scene in Walmart would impress Mr Moore himself. What we have then is a comic that gives a new spin on a tired concept and that alone makes it valid and interesting. Well worth a read.

In a Word: Fresh.

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