JUST JOSHING: Good Spirits

I’m a big believer in buying local.  Local doesn’t just apply to food for me.  I always am on the lookout for people that come up with their own creations in both books, and comics.  With the nature of the industry being what it is, most creators that are amazing and up and coming trend to start here.  In my first week in Vancouver, I was taken to one of the prestigious comic shops in Burnaby and found this neat little book called Good Spirits by Joey Donaldson and Tuna.  Tuna is the Vancouver native and is short for Rachel Petrovicz. She is the illustrator in the book, and as for Joey, he is based out of Burlington Ontario. Alright, two Canadian talents that are putting together funny books.  I’m in.

The Book

Good Spirits

Written by: Joey Donaldson

Illustrated by: Rachel “Tuna” Petrovicz

Publisher: Kickstarter

Good Spirits was a very enjoyable read.  Prost is the newest member of the Jade Mug Tavern Inn and finds himself kidnapped in the bottom of the cellar by an evil wizard.  Just when things are about to get bleak, he is saved by a kick-ass sorceress named Ness.  Once saved, an accident brings both of them back into the Jade Mug Tavern, in which Prost is promptly fired for lying to his boss.

Here is where the story gets interesting.  As much as a lot of things happened before this moment, this is where you get into the heart of who Prost is.  Ness does a really humane thing and helps Prost deal with his anxiety about being fired.  It’s a very powerful moment and a real cool breathing exercise that shares a very cool moment between them. Very rarely does a story like this tackle real-life mental disorders in a genuine way.  It’s a very nice touch to the book.

So is Prost’s house.  Here is the heart of the story.  It turns out that Prost is an amateur brewer of beer and spirits, and goes on to explain his passions for what he does.  I found myself growing to like both characters, as Ness pushes Prost to head back to the Jade Mug to enter a once in a lifetime contest and chase his dreams.

It occurred to me reading this that this book was a dream for both creators.  Putting this together and getting support to make this happen, isn’t much different than the story of this book happening here.  It was funded and supported by the audience in Kickstarter and much like their audience, this book has a lot of heart.  There’s magic and a bit of familiar formula for fans of this kind of fantasy, but some of the issues feel very modern and real.  We all have dreams and we all do things to chase them, and this is something that is key to both Ness and Prost, as well as Donaldson and Tuna.

Donaldson’s script is fun, with some nice depth to the characters.  The voices for each character is distinct, whether it’s Prost or the Owner of the Jade Mug, June.  There is a love of craft in not only the book but even in vintages too.

Tuna’s illustrations are kinetic, reminding me a bit of Humberto Ramos mixed with a touch of manga.  Her characters are expressive and diverse and there was a lot of fun in designing the bar.  Perhaps the least interesting thing in the story was the wizard that kidnapped Prost at the beginning.

This kind of story has a lot of heart and I’m curious to see where they go from here.  And who knows?  Maybe I’ve discovered some diamonds in the industry.  I’m hoping to see both of them continue creating comics for the foreseeable future.  I’d love to have both of them on the podcast for sure.

The Business

I’ve had a crazy two weeks.  I ended up coming back from vacation to find a new place, and not only doing so, but I’m moving this weekend.  I’m adding a course for my courseload next week and the following weekend. It’s going to be a crazy time.  March 21st looks like the release of the Cloud Diver.  I’m hoping.  In the meantime, I’m writing up a storm.  More to come soon.

This week’s Just Joshing features the amazing Vanessa Cardui.  I’m a big fan of Vanessa’s music and recommend that you check her out wherever you can.  I’m a big fan of the person as well.  We have a doozy of a conversation.

That will do it.  I’ll be combing the files of Webtoon for next week’s review.  If you got a comic you’d like me to review, give a shout will you?  Support local, and invest in the artists around you.  Chances are there are some amazing people to believe in./

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