May 28, 2014

4-Eyed Productions Review: Urban Legends #1 & #2

Urban Legends #1 & #2
Publisher: 4-Eyed Productions
Creators and Story: Issue 1: Jeff Balke and Brandon Filbert; Issue 2: Jeff and Brandon Balke
Writer: Keith Thomas
Pencils: Miriam Medina
Colors: Issue 1: Jeff Balke; Issue 2: Jon Woodard

I’m a fan of horror anthologies. The TV show variety were the ones I grew up on, but I also read comics and books, while occasionally catching movies like that, as well. I’d also love reading up on Urban Legends and the possible origins of them. So a horror anthology comic that takes urban legends and puts them onto the page seemed like a fun combo. How does it do? Let’s find out.

First off, the book is just called Urban Legends. I love the simplicity of that, I’d have thought that was taken, but knowing that it wasn’t is so charming to me since I’d have expected it have to need so many colons in its title. One thing I noticed right from the start is we get a redundancy by having a page explain to us what Urban Legends are, but then does the same thing when the comic starts through narration. I’d say pick one since they are literally back-to-back.

The thing I really liked was how the two issues seem to be linked into a single world and story. This was the sort of thing that has me interested. If you’ve heard any urban legends, these are likely some of the first you heard, but to have them exist in one big story is interesting. I kept having flashbacks to the show Tales from the Darkside, and a cartoon that told urban legends. I’m a fan of both those shows, so reminding me of them is a good sign.

The variations to the stories aren’t groundbreaking, but it does fill in the points that you’d normally be able to skip over in a verbal telling of the tales. The art, at certain points, does a good job of conveying the plot without words, which is nice to see.

If you like horror comics and urban legends, give this series a look. I’d like to see if they do more with these linked stories, or if it’s like how Mr. Show skits inter-connected.

Dr. Alexander Bustos

Editor’s note:
This isn’t my favorite genre of comics, but I also took a look. The first issue is a warning to always be aware of your surroundings. A shadowy figure follows the main character throughout, but she ignores it until it’s too late. The pacing is incredibly fast, too fast, which makes it hard to care about the lead; a shame since her visual look makes her seem like she might be interesting. She’s gone just as quickly as we meet her, however. Fortunately the issues are tied together by minor characters in issue #1 making a reappearance in #2; a nice touch. This time the narrator warns readers that urban legends tend to begin with a sliver of truth, despite the ongoing exaggerations as the story is told and retold. These retellings make the legend seem so ridiculous, especially since there’s never any real evidence to back them up…until it happens to you. Both comics feel like stories told around a camp fire, or in a dorm at summer camp. The artwork in both issues feels a little manga-inspired (though I may be imprinting that since I read so much manga). Though of note is a really fantastic splash page in issue two that made me stop and stare. This is a new venture for Jeff and Brandon Balke as they launch their own publishing label, so keep an eye out for more things to come.




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