JUST JOSHING: Spectress and Sabanion

Buddy books are without a doubt one of the better concepts in comics. My buddy book of choice was Quantum and Woody, as there was something lovable about two grown best friends stuck together (the fact that they are both idiots adds to the charm).

But beyond that pairing, partnerships are one of the big foundations of comics. Batman and Robin is the first and most famous one, but far and away the more interesting partners are the ones that don’t get along. It’s a neat storytelling device to have odd couples that don’t seem to fit at first. There are a lot of fun tensions you can play with, and sometimes there is real magic in it. Cloak and Dagger, or Hawk and Dove both are team books that at first don’t seem to work well together or come from polar opposite backgrounds. It’s always neat to find where those partners are similar. Great stories come from this.

Kurt Zauer is on his way to telling a great story with his own production Spectress and Sabanion. I discovered this book when I interviewed Kurt on my podcast. Kurt is working on something great.


The Book

Spectress and Sabanion

Created and Written by Kurt Zauer

Illustrated by Topper Helmers

Colored by Wesley Wong

Lettered by Wes Locher

Publisher: Kickstarter


The Story

Spectress and Sabanion is an unlikely partnership. Spectress is the Egyptian ghost, Aneski, a servant of Cleopatra is killed back in Ancient Egyptian days. Instead of going to meet Annubis. You watch her die and feel a little bit of sympathy for her. Today, somehow, the ghost is still attached to the world we now as a spirit in the modern world and she is not alone. Issue one opens up with her murder and the revelation that she is still here in the modern-day, and she is not alone.

For the last twenty-two years, she had a companion linked to her somehow.  A monster named Sabanion, who looks like a living cyclone of fire. His bad intentions are made plain, and a glimpse of the story of how Aneski bound him are revealed through Sorenson, a member of the moon crew of Confac-4. This moon crew is a collection of holy men and women who keep the creature at bay.

From there, the book then gives you background on Sorenson. I love the little knowledge here. Zauers sniper scene has a very authentic feel to the life of a soldier in that time. You get a very good sense of who he is and you develop sympathy for him, and believe me, he needs it.

This is when the book gets surprising. Aneski possesses Sorenson and uses him to start the process of freeing Sabanion. This was an interesting twist on the story. You expect Sabanion to cause the chaos and destruction described by Aneski and Sorenson. Instead, you get Aneski causing the destruction by possessing various members of the moon crew and using them to further their ends. Zauer does an amazing job of circumventing expectations. There are a lot more shades of gray to this relationship than expected. There isn’t a black and white good guy/bad guy here in the partnership. There are two entities that need each other for reasons not quite fully explained, but you get enough to continue to be interested.

The art is perfect for this kind of story. Helmers draws a very gritty, grimy book. The colors are subdued and there is a sense of the ink running on the page. There is a haunted quality that reminded me of Moon Knight and the modern-day Hawkman mythos. There are magical tangents in the story and a bit of a mystery to what is going on.  Wong’s colors emphasize this feeling as you read it. This book is surprisingly dense in description and character. Zauer and company have a surprisingly fun buddy book that takes me back to the old THUNDER Agents feel of pulp and excitement with some mystical tragedy mixed in.  All in all a great book and as good as anything on the shelf. I can’t wait for the next issue.

You can bid for it right now on Kickstarter. Just click on this link if you want to donate. There are some cool prizes right now and the book is worth it. Definitely check it out if you get the chance.


The Business

My podcast is now a talk show! That’s right, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday you can come join me and watch me interview a creator. I have a heck of a lineup for the next two months.  I started with the incredible Jennifer Gordon and Kurt Zauer. I have talents like Elsa Garagarza, Mog Park, Randy McCharles, Devan Kane, and more coming in the first month and the second month is shaping up to be incredible as well. If you’re a fan of comics, illustration, you will see plenty of great independent guests. It’s going to be an amazing ride. But don’t worry, you can still listen to the podcast on those days and listen to me and other authors read from their works every weekend.

I got another book I’m trying to finish by Christmas Day. Lights Out is going to be my mini dystopian novel. I want three releases and that is what I’m working on. What’s going to make this even more interesting is that this looks like it will be my first ever cover. Nervous.

That will do it for me this month. Stay inspired guys, and keep reading great comics. My next review features a book from Donny Cates, someone I had not read from until now. Until then, stay inspired.

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