First Impression: Evil by Khaiam Dar
Book: 'Evil' by James Edward Clark
I first saw 'Evil' by James Edward Clark on the table of an exhibitor at March's Fan Expo earlier this year. The exhibitor had bought it off "some guy with a backwards baseball cap selling it out of his backpack." I had only gotten to flip through it once, but I knew right then and there that I wanted a copy. After an understandably futile attempt at finding 'some guy with a backwards baseball cap', I sadly gave up. A few months later I rejoiced to find it on the indie-comics shelf at the Comic Book Lounge, and there was no question of this being my next purchase. Clark has given us something remarkable with 'Evil'; for the first time in my life I felt like I was reading a 'Grindhouse-esque' comic. It has a fun and gritty kitschy value that I didn't expect from a comic - right down to the unevenly cut pages. The hero, 'Samson the Destroyer' is a Mexican luchador (wrestler) with a ray gun on his belt trying to rescue his girlfriend from the 'Space Thunder Death Cult' who plan to sacrifice her to release satanic forces from hell. The plotting is fast paced with amusing dialogue, including the subtitles. Anything seems possible in this over the top action-horror-adventure, which is a nice change of pace from the standard superhero stories (which I still collect and read on a regular basis) but ultimately have plotlines tied down to their respective publisher's bottom line. Clark is fearless in showing off this bizarre tale which we can only imagine what the next issue, page or panel holds. Clark is a hidden gem in the comics community. As an artist myself I've been told by professionals 'know the rules before you break them, otherwise your art will just look sloppy or lazy'. There are no cut corners in Evil. Clark is an artist with solid skills in anatomy, layouts all in a style that is a joy to the viewer. His coloring looks like a Technicolor throwback on a comics page and his design sense is top notch.
The most striking thing about Evil by James Edward Clark is that if you let yourself, you can feel a real love for everything comics in each line he puts to page. You can tell this is a person who lives and breathes the medium, cause there's no other way to get this good at it. It's a raw energy every creator hopes to get to their audience, and this issue delivers.