Month of Women in Comics – Papa
All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by female creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here‘s a list of all the books featured so far this month.
We continue with Papa by Vera Greentea, Ben Jelter, Lizzy John, and Joseph Lacroix
Papa is a collection of three stories related to fathers, all written by Greentea. It is a dark, dark volume but shows some tremendous writing skills from Greentea, who manages to make each story feel fresh, even as they hit some familiar notes.
The opening story is also the title story. It is drawn by Joseph Lacroix and it is about a boy and his father, who both indulge in a bit of hero worship in the superhero known as The Tempest. The boy finds what appears to be a dying Tempest, but it opens up the question – what would you do if you could trade your life for a superhero’s?
Lacroix’s art is powerful. He reminds me a bit of John Romita Jr. You know how stories sometimes have these tragic twists and it’s like, “Oh man, how could I have been so blind?! And now ____ has happened!!” Well, “Papa” takes a slightly different approach to that.
“The Princess and the Robot” also involves the concept of sacrifice, but here, it is a king who is forced to sacrifice his own daughter as a tribute to a warring kingdom (and their powerful robot). The art is by Ben Jelter and he does an outstanding job on the design of the characters, especially the decision by the king that drives the plot – he will sacrifice his daughter, but not the way the rival kingdom is expecting.
The final tale is “Nightbirds,” drawn by Lizzy John. This is definitely the most ambitious of the three tales, but at the same time, I think perhaps a bit TOO ambitious, as I don’t think that there was quite enough pages for the ending of the story to quite have the “oomph” that I think it needed, but it was still a strong tale with incredible artwork from John.
It is set in a Post-Apocalyptic world where a husband is exploring the possible practical application of theology while his wife tries to keep their daughter alive.
Like the other two fathers we’ve seen, he has made his own personal choice as to what is right and he doesn’t seem too concerned about how it affects his family.
John creates such an amazingly unsettling mood. Just check out how freakin’ awesomely creepy and compelling this page is (where the husband and his friend come back home after an encounter with a “Nightbird,” giant birds who roam the area)…
How awesome is that last panel? Chills went down my spine reading that. John really set a high standard with how well she set that up.
Papa is a great collection of stories by a clever and thoughtful writer and three excellent comic artists. You can buy it here.