When I think of awesome comics, I picture vivid colors, progressive artwork, and compelling storylines and dialogue involving characters with depth. Aw Yeah Comics! really hypes itself up by entitling their latest trade “Make Way… For Awesome!” because this one couldn’t get me much past “Aw”. Sure, it’s great as a kids book, no doubt about that, but the whole endeavor lacks substance as far as I’m concerned.
This trade contains four issues featuring such heroes as Action Cat, Adventure Bug, and the Daring Dog Duo fighting equally silly villains in stories ranging from 1 to 16 pages long. The art is simple and the jokes are mildly funny, making this an excellent choice for those unable or unwilling to appreciate adult comic books. One of the main stories involves Evil Cat super-gluing the lid of a pickle jar to preoccupy our heroes while he attempts to take over the city using said super glue. None of the scenarios tie into one another at all, making this really good coffee table or bathroom reading since you can open it to any page and not feel like you missed anything. Because the story and art are so basic, the comic feels like it has only one creative team despite using a half-dozen or more.
One redeeming quality is the Battlepug crossover, courtesy of comic creator Mike Norton, whose popular webseries is finally reached a great climax in its final act this week. Although his work is only featured in the last 7 pages, it was the high point to see a beloved character and his Kimundian master. I’ve read all of Norton’s Battlepug online and it is some really fun stuff. Plus, I think pugs are adorable because they’re ugly and he draws them frequently since he is a fellow pug-lover. This alone made my appreciation for this go up a half-star.
I will say that this series is the smartest and most immersive advertisement for Aw Yeah Comics! in Skokie, IL. Throughout the book, the characters exclaim “Aw Yeah!” and reference the shop frequently since it is the base of operations for some of our characters. Awesome Bear works as a clerk there while Alice (Lady Action Cat?) delivers new comics every week. In fact, everything happens in “Beautiful Downtown Skokie” so that the reader never forgets where Aw Yeah Comics! is located. I’ve been to their location in Muncie, IN on several occasions and I think it’s a great shop. They regularly have events and signings, and while I can’t say much for this main location, they seem to live up to their reputation. Plus, having a comic baring your name on shelves every month must definitely help business.
Even with that said, I feel as though it works best as a cutesy promotional piece, rather than something to take seriously. The characters are playful and original, with bumbling villains to defeat and hijinx to be had, but as an adult comic book reader, I just can’t justify reading this on a monthly basis. There is no continuous time-line, no character development, and very little artistic achievement past what could be expected in a newspaper strip. Kudos to Aw Yeah! for making a comic that is readable and eye-catching for young comic enthusiasts, but for me, this has me yelling “Aw Nah!”
Not so Awesome, 2.5 plus 0.5 (for Battlepug guest star) = 3 out of 5 Stars
Writer: Art Baltazar, Franco
Artist: Art Baltazar, Franco, Scoot McMahon, Denver Brubaker, Marc Hammond, Kurt Wood, Dave Scheidt, Vince Dorse
Cover Artist: Art Baltazar