Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Jazz and Jess

I'm about to do something I didn't really think I'd ever do.  I'm going to start this review off with a criticism:

Until earlier this month, when the artist contacted me through MySpace, I didn't know this comic existed.  This clearly suggests that their marketing department should be fired, with haste, because the comic itself is bloody brilliant.

Jazz and Jess seem to be your average young couple, living average young lives.  Yes, they suffer from some unknown form of amnesia which is slowly fading with the help of some new found old friends.  Yes, they share a sense of humor that is somewhat… violent; and yes, their favorite pastime involves the eradication of nocturnal zombies.  Still, this is clearly a character driven, comedic slice-of-life with definite direction and impeccably dry humor.  Now on its 30th strip, there honestly isn't a single thing I don't like.  The writing is solid, and though it seemed to be moving a bit too fast the first few strips, the plot has happily settled into a nice pace for comedic story telling.  Do not, my American brethren, allow the occasional use of UK slang to deter you.  You can figure it out, I promise – that's what Google is there for.  As an aside - "chauvinistic wank monkey" worked its way into my vernacular as though it were greased.   

The artwork is perfect for the comic.  The angular features and simple lines seem to work as a stage for the finer details and great sense of body mechanics.  I'll be studying his character's hands alone for hours, I guarantee it.  The backgrounds are similarly impressive – detailed without being obtrusive they even hold the occasional joke and plot point; something I began looking for in comics when I fell in love with Jhonen Vasquez but very rarely find.  The color work and shading are both fantastic and set the mood nicely – none of that impossibly dark nonsense here.  This is a bright, happy, kill fest. 

Frequently the art and writing work together to deliver a double punch, and even when taking the rare plunge into webcomic danger zones like breaking the fourth wall and sidestepping the plot, the end result is absolutely entertaining.  I'd place the comic pretty firmly in the Web14 arena, though in getting to know the artist just a bit I'd say he scores a firm WebMA, so I'm making no promises for future content. 

All in all – I highly recommend this one.  Start at the beginning and check it out.