I attended Design Indaba with low expectations this year. Usually, I find a few stands that I like, but nothing really wows me. This year I walked past the SA Comics stands, hoping to see how sales were doing, when low and behold a certain canine caught my eye. I found a Kickstarter Edition of Stray #1, a title I had been keen to read for quite a while.
Stray is co-created by South African artist Sean Izaakse. Last year it was picked up by Action Lab Comics, so I knew I would get a chance to review a digital copy of it, but buying an actual print issue felt so much more special!
Stray is an exceptional work of art; the writing and illustrations work very well together and guarantee a great experience. It tells the tale of Rodney, the sidekick of a prolific superhero known as Doberman, aka his father. The story starts off by showing the reader that Doberman was part of a superhero group, but the first to use a sidekick. He raised his son to follow in his footsteps, to protect the weak and be a keeper of justice. The Rottweiler was born. Years have passed since then and father and son have parted ways. As we flash forward in time it becomes apparent that Rodney has left his heroic days behind him. Instead, he is running a nightclub and making money through dodgy dealings. Doberman is now over 50 and is still an active hero, but it would seem that he has met his match; resulting in The Rottweiler having to come out of retirement.
As mentioned earlier, the illustrations and colouring on this issue is simply top notch. The amount of detail Sean puts into each and every frame is quite impressive. I gave the comic to my brother – he reads comics now and then, but really does not go out of his way to do so. The art in this comic even surprised him and commented on how talented Sean is. The action sequences flow with ease and are easy to follow and the colouring blends in with the story, creating a great and gritty read. The amount of detail placed into the character design and facial expressions make it easy to empathise with the characters.
Stray #1 Kickstarter Edition was well worth every cent that I spent; it is a great read that will surprise anyone that grabs an issue. Issue 2 is out and it promises more action – we see The Rottweiler in action whilst still under the guard of Doberman. Both the first issue and the second can be found at Action Lab Comics. Support local comics and your local comic book store and get a copy of Stray today!