Last year, Rob Multari and Mog Park blew me away with Snow Paw issue one. This year I finally got my hands on issue two. So with these two issues on my plate, I present to you one of the best indie comics I’ve ever read. At least so far.
Story, Script, and Art Direction by: Rob Multari
Line Art by: Mog Park
Colors by Bruna Costa
Lettering by David Lentz
Publisher: Lone Wolf Comics
Snow Paw is a spin-off of Rob’s amazing Night Wolf series. I’ve reviewed the series here and here, and Snow Paw plays a role in the book. This version of Snow Paw takes us back to the 19th century when she was a girl named Cirray. Cirray was as wild a girl as she is in the comics if a touch more innocent. Her father marries her off to marry James Chisholm. Cirray opposes it, and here is where the trope dies. One of the things I most enjoy about this book is that the book plays with expectations in ways that fit the time and place in the story is set in. Cirray wants to rebel but overhears her father’s reasoning. He wasn’t marrying her off to control her, but rather to try and give her a bit of her dream to go on adventures, as he didn’t want her to marry someone on a farm and be unhappy. This isn’t a typical story, and it’s better for it.
As far as arranged marriages go, this one looks like it just might work. James is someone Cirray develops an attraction and fondness for quickly, and who knows? It might have worked out. If it wasn’t for that dang Grim Fang.
Grim Fang is one of the darker wolves and predecessor to a certain antagonist in the Night Wolf series, who intercepts Cirray at home and forces her to change. It was just what Grim Fang was waiting for, and proceeds to have Cirray in trouble.
Issue one was my second favorite issue of the year. I really love the little details in this book. This book doesn’t read like an old-school comic like Night Wolf. It feels part historical, part fantasy, and part autobiography. Multari does an amazing job of exploring Cirray’s personality and character as she interacts with her father and family throughout the book. He also does a wonderful job of telling a different kind of coming-of-age story. The details of the story are fantastic, and that’s a credit to the whole team. Little things like the color of Cirray’s eyes when she’s hunting that deer at the beginning of the book, which is a super nice touch from Costa and Park to the designs of the castles, farms and boats. No detail is left out. It creates a much more complex story than I expected.
Issue two had a lofty task. Could it top issue one?
Not quite, but it’s close. Cirray is rescued from Grim Fang’s clutches by a white wolf named Silver Fang. Before he could be defeated, Grim Fang summons a Nuckelavee. Cirray defeats the creature not with her powers, but with her wits and knowledge of the stories passed down to her from her grandmother, and with the help of her rescuers.
When she comes to, she finds out that in the process of Grim Fang’s wolves attacking the farm, that her family was dead. This was a real punch to the gut, as the whole family was introduced in the first issue. Part of me doesn’t believe it reading it, but the funeral scene later makes it abundantly clear. The funeral scene is my favorite in the entire series so far. Cirray says her goodbyes and vows revenge. The range of emotion in those two pages is incredible. Credit to Park and Costa again for giving Cirray such a range of depth.
Coming to London, we are introduced to my favorite concept in Multari’s shared universe to date. The Dragon’s Tooth: A bar with every kind of magical creature you can imagine dwelling there. It’s a place for magical creatures to meet up and adds a sense of wonder to the horrors that exist in the world of Night Wolf. I cannot wait to see this in future issues of Night Wolf as well.
My big thing with the issue is that there are too many subplots. The issue begins with one as a Brazillian nightmare is freed from its prison and starts enslaving the people that discovered him. The other is something mentioned in issue one with some property stuff expounded upon, but I feel like less is more on the subplot range with this book. This book shines when Cirray is at the forefront. How she interacts with the world in front of her is the real magic of this book. I understand the need to have things develop, but too much can detract from the voice.
Still, this is a great start to a fantastic series. Robert Multari is on his way to writing some of his absolute best work, and Mog Park is wowing us with her pencils. Costa’s colors add to the details created in this world, as does Lentz’ lettering. Everyone on this team understands the importance of having dimensions.
So far, I’m digging Multari’s playing with expectations and the layers of Cirray’s story. I can’t wait to see where this all goes. I cannot recommend this book enough.
My massage therapy education series I’m working on with Shelniel Bostic, producing and directing it, is coming out in May. I’ve been working on it since November and we’re very deep into filming it. 9 episodes are fully done, and we are well into episodes 10 and 11 as I’m writing this column. I cannot wait to show you all what I’m working on. Educational material is fun stuff, and it’s been a pleasure to watch this series grow with each filming. May cannot come soon enough. It is a one-season show with 14 episodes for sure. Stay tuned.
My podcast keeps rolling on toward episode 1000. I made sure to have Rik Offenberger on the show, and now I’m counting down to the end of the show as I know it.
I’m hoping to have some writing news soon as well. I’ve started ghostwriting as well. All my life I’ve wanted to make a living with my creativity, and I’m closer now than I’ve ever been. I’ve been making dreams real, and proud of it. If you want to see what else I’m up to in more detail, you can sign up for my newsletter right now. A new one will drop this week, as I have less pressure on the massage therapy series for the moment. You can sign up here.
That will do it. Next week I review a book I first read in 2014. Should be a good one. Stay inspired out there.