Welcome to Reality

Image Comics just went meta.

September was a good month for comics, even outside of DC’s Forever Evil “Villain Month” event, because it heralded the release of one of the most innovative comics I’ve read in a long time. Longtime followers of this blog might remember one of my earliest comic reviews, on Image’s Morning Glories. I’m coming to see that Image has a knack for publishing some very interesting, off-beat comics, and I’m quite pleased by this.

Plus there’s a deliciously twisted sense of humor.

Reality Check is their newest series, written by Glen Brunswick with art by Viktor Bogdanovic. The series focuses on Willard Penn, a struggling comic book writer and artist living in LA. You may roll your eyes at this. A comic about a comic book writer? Isn’t that like writing about a writer?

For the record, the latter is done quite often, and usually to very good effect. But that’s neither here nor there.

At any rate, what sets Reality Check apart, and keeps it from being just another “it’s hard to break into the business” story is that, as you may expect, there’s an extra twist. See, Willard didn’t just write and draw the comic, but, apparently, his comic came to life. The series is about what happens when his Batman-inspired anti-hero, Dark Hour, steps out of his head (and his computer) and into his home. Crazy, right?

I thought this last touch was particularly nice, as it gives the impression that Dark Hour — and by extension, any idea — lives in the head of the one who imagined him. When Dark Hour enters the real world, all traces of the plot Willard was working on left both his head and his harddrive. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised — Image does have a penchant for producing deeply philosophical books, after all — but it was still a very nice twist on the typical “idea comes to life” story.

There’s not much else I can say, really — the second issue only just dropped yesterday, I think, so I don’t have it yet. But I can definitely recommend this series without any reservations. It’s really quite clever, and I hope that it will have a long, successful run.

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