Written by: Gary M. Kenny, CC2K Comics Editor
Fanboy Comics’ new graphic novel: Identity Thief puts a new twist on the phrase “what lurks in the dark.” It continues in the horror genre that Fanboy Comics tends to publish. it’s a fun spin on the monster in the closet story with a “twilight zone” type ending. Read on…
Writer: Bryant Dillon
Art: Meaghan O’Keefe
Craig and his girlfriend Daphne move into their first apartment together. They leave behind their families and the problems from their old town. Brand new start, brand new day. Everything seemed on the up and up until Craig discovered a mysterious hatch door in his closet. When creepy sounds start rattling from the dark, personal items go missing, and paranoia starts kicking in, Craig might have a thief living in his home.
Bryant Dillon paints a pretty dark picture, a story hardly seen in this day and age, but has a familiarity seen in episodes of the Twilight Zone. The graphic novel isn’t very wordy, this isn’t a Brian Michael Bendis or Grant Morrison comic. In the horror genre, less can be more. In “Identity Thief” less is more in parts. When the reader gets to know the monster, less i s more. When the reader gets to know Craig and Daphne, the words should have been carefully chosen. We learn in the middle of the book that Craig has a problem with stealing. We learn that Craig is an artist and comic fan. We learn that Daphne is the girlfriend and nothing else. There is nothing wrong with this, however I find myself asking why do I need to know that Craig steals and draws? It helps in part with the story, there is a few scenes that have the monster ‘stealing’ and ‘painting’ scary pictures. Did that help with the paranoia feel of the book? It was hit and miss. Truthfully I wish i got to know Daphne and their relationship better, but since I didn’t, i wish that same “less is more” direction went with Craig to keep the theme. This doesn’t mean Bryant did a bad job, his characters were believable and the story did flow without confusion. However a do believe an outside editor would have caught this and asked for a new draft of the story. This would have helped the reader identify with the protagonist.
The star of the book is the artwork of Meaghan O’Keefe. Like I said before this novel isn’t very wordy, hence it’s dependant on how good the artwork is. O’Keefe sommoned her inner Sam Keith ( artist of The Maxx). Her monster was creepy as hell and reminded me of the scary paintings of Francis Bacon. Her work is full of flow, is shadowy, and takes life as each page turns. For a horror book, Fanboy Comics chose an excellent arist for this novel. I think O’Keefe is an amazing talent, unfortunately I do have a big problem with some her work. It needed a new edit. I already stated that the script could have used one more edit, the artwork needed a few touch ups.
When O’Keefe needed to thrill or scare, her characters went deranged and the artwork was perfectly paced. The scary didn’t need to be beautiful and the art worked! When the flow of the book needed to be slow and pretty this is where O’Keefe’s art needed to be touched up. I uploaded an image on the left, you’ll see on the bottom panel that O’Keefe could paint/draw beautifully. However, on the top panel is the same character from a page before. They look like two different people. It didn’t confuse me, but made me think that either O’Keefe was lazy in fixing a few of the images or no one helped her edit her art. I believe it’s hard for the writer to say to the artist “can you fix this, it looks uneven.” That is where a good editor comes in. It’s the editor’s job to say the hard things. O’Keefe has so much talent that when she misses it’s noticeable. This is not meant to sound mean, but i honestly do believe this book could be something excellent if they had a new draft.
Identity Thief is a fun and original take on what really is the monster in the closet. I like how Fanboy Comics choose to stay in the horror genre and really bring it back to the comic world. We need more stories like this instead of the run of the mill superhero tales. But now that they got my attention, their work needs to outshine their talent. When they do this and i have a feeling like they will, the comic world will take notice.
Gary is a husband, father, fireman, comic reader, gamer, body builder, and rocker. He also is a co-owner of a bakery in upstate NY. He likes to tell everyone his favorite band is the Beatles, when his actual favorite band is the Alkaline Trio.