Photographic Evidence of Success

Despite what the title might have you believe, I’m not, in fact, discussing photography, but rather a spectacular new series from Image Comics called Shutter. Written by Joe Keatinge with stunning art by Leila del Duca, Shutter sets out to tell the tale of Kate Kristopher, explorer extraordinaire and last in a line of adventurers who’ve set out to discover everything creation has to offer. Set in an indeterminably distant future, Shutter #1 promises a sci-fi tale of magnificent scope.

Ok, so maybe not as epic in scope as Image’s smash-hit Saga, but it’s also only the first issue, so who knows?

Leila del Luca’s stunning cover art, featuring Kate Kristopher herself.

I can’t go into a huge amount of detail without spoiling plot, but we open on a flashback to Kate’s childhood before meeting her in the present time (of the comic), on her 27th birthday. It’s immediately obvious that we’re in some far-off future, though I’m not going to tell you why, because it’s a pretty awesome introduction to the world of the comic. Del Duca’s art is truly something to behold, somehow blending a raw sketch-like quality with an incredible amount of detail and emotion. Owen Gieni’s colors more than complement the art, making the world vibrant and familiar while also, somehow, giving the impression that this is not the same world we live in.

It’s the right impression, of course, but how the colors manage to pull it off is beyond me. But hey, that’s why I’m a reader and blogger, not an artist or colorist.

Keatinge’s script is also excellent — though I expect no less from anything put out by Image. In just dialogue we gain a wealth of knowledge about Kate — her disposition on life, hints of events that may have led to her outlook, etc. Again, I can’t go into a lot of detail without ruining things, but it’s worth the read, as you may have guessed from my raving here.

As a first issue, it worked pretty well. There were a few moments that were a bit predictable, sure, and looking back there were also a few instances that border on the cliche. But it left me wanting more, which is exactly what it should have done. I can easily overlook such minor issues, because, again, it’s the first issue. Plus it looks gorgeous and really feels like a high quality comic just by the paper alone.

There’s a nice two-page letter in the back from Keatinge and de Duca — in lieu of a letters page, since obviously no readers could have sent anything in yet. You get a clear sense that both author and artist (who are co-creators of the series, mind you) are really in it for the sheer enjoyment of producing the comic. They have a great sense of humor and give their recommendations on music, TV, comics, movies, and books. I think it’s a pretty great thing when creators set out to make readers feel like a part of the process — like they know the people making the comic they’re reading, even if they never meet or correspond at all. There’s something there that feels like a relationship, and that’s important.

Also there are two brief, humorous bonus comics that have no relation to the actual comic except that the people who wrote and drew them are friends of the people who made Shutter. Keatinge, in his part of the letter, promises such similar bonus material every issue, be it comics like these, pin-up art, whatever. Just something extra — another bonus, in my book, because more content is always much appreciated. And it separates Shutter from the rest of the pack — Marvel comics have a letters page, and DC comics has the “Channel 52” to advertise other events in the DC Universe, plus a page after that telling you what comics you should buy. But there’s not much in the way of bonus content in the Big Two, unless it’s a special issue, such as the recent Ultimate Spider-Man #200. Image has no company-wide post-story procedure. Morning Glories relatively recently added a column at the end explaining a lot of the complex plot threads and philosophical undertones — which is much appreciated in a series so complicated, though comes a bit late in the run; the most recent issue was #38, so there’s a lot of complicated time-travel/philosophy/just plain weird stuff, and it’s quite hard to follow at times. Other Image titles I’ve read, such as Reality Check don’t offer much of anything in the way of bonus material. Maybe that’s because they’re mini-series, so there’s not a lot of extra material outside of the actual comic anyway.  Whatever the case, it’s a really nice addition to Shutter, and I have a feeling it’ll be one of the things I’ll look forward to every month.

My recommendation is, if you like sci-fi or (potentially) deep stories or adventure, get this title on your pull list immediately. I picked it up based on a passing interest after seeing it in Previews, and like my opinion on Silver Surfer yesterday, I’m very glad I did.


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