Story: Dave Heath
Art: Anita Zaramella
Publisher: Bilateral Comics
Release Date: October 29, 2014
I’m a big fan of the the indie/web comic scene. It allows the little guys to shine in an industry that isn’t always accommodating to unproven talent. That increase in exposure predictably resulted in more than a few great, good and downright awful comics.
Enter Valley-01, a title from Bilateral Comics founder Dave Heath, a web comic series that publishes a new page every week or so. In principle, I’m totally behind the idea, as it’s novelty facilitates a level of fan interaction that you’d never get with the Big 3 (Marvel, DC, Image). In practice, though, I wonder if the book doesn’t suffer from such a hectic production pace.
I’m a little late to this party, so I had to go back and do a little reading in order to get a feel for what’s happening in the Valley-01 universe. It’s a pretty straightforward adventure tale, with elements of science fiction and fantasy thrown in for good measure. In spite of my increasingly snobbish tastes, I find myself really enjoying the book.
Maybe it’s the good-hearted loner attitude of the book’s lead character, or maybe it’s the way the action just seems to explode unpredictably; whatever it is, this book has it. My only complaint in terms of story is the lack of continuous narrative; most of Valley is revealed through second-person exchanges between characters with no narration (dialogue boxes, captions, etc).
That approach helps to move the story along fairly quickly but it also leaves readers in the dark when it comes to character motivation. Regardless, Heath has a real knack for telling a compelling story and I can’t help anxiously anticipating the fates of Eros and Bartlett.
That said, take my praise with grain of salt. This is an independently published comic and as such, it is a little rough around the edges. Zaramella’s art is good, but the book might benefit from a little division of labor, i.e., separating coloring, inking and lettering responsibilities between more individuals. Again though, as this is an independently produced book, with what I assume is limited backing, I’m not expecting everything to be perfect just yet.
If you’ve got a few spare moments and little extra cash on hand, head over to Bilateralcomics.com, support the creators and give this book a shot.
By: Adam Cadmon