Crossovers. A sales tool employed but the Big Two comic book publishers. Always hyped and almost always a transparent vehicle to shake-up the status quo. We have seen so many of them in recent years that “event fatigue” is a real thing. But every so often a crossover comes along that shines with the wonderful nostalgia of the old Justice League of America and Justice Society of America team-ups. The Adventures of Auroraman Annual #1 is one of those bright lights.
Full disclosure time. I am involved with a group called The Canadian Comic Book Alliance with my own fledgeling character, Kaptain Polska. I have also edited several Auroraman issues. And while this book features all three I had almost no involvement in the production of this comic book except a quick proofread of a near-final review copy.
“Breaking the world record for largest collection of independent Canadian Super-Heroes teaming up in a single issue!” That’s how the press release for The Adventures of Auroraman Annual #1 starts. Independently verified by one of the top Canadian comic book historians this issue features over twenty characters from independent Canadian comic book creators.
The creative team of Donovan Yaciuk, James Zintel, Justin Shauf, & Andrew Thomas put together a silly and fun nostalgia trip that should bring a smile to your face. In typical Canadian humour ridiculousness, an ancient demon called Proto-Master Psykorr has landed in Auroraman’s reality. Hell-bent on destroying everything in his path.
“From a secret base in Canada, the bravest and most heroic individuals of all time prepare to launch their desperate, last-ditch attempt to save all of existence, and it all rests on the shoulders on Humboldt’s own….. AURORAMAN!”
Donovan Yaciuk’s trip down memory lane story is enhanced by the witty scripting of James Zintel. I don’t know who is responsible for what line but the off-beat humour is filled with so many genuine “laugh out loud” moments. The story is told in two parts with a framing sequence featuring all the characters and their epic battle. But the best bits are the centre part featuring a side-lined Auroraman, Spacepig Hamadeaus (I giggle every time I have to write down that name, so good) and Spacesquatch.
Justin Schaf’s art on the framing sequences is stylish but approachable. A strong superhero look but still very unique. Easily my favourite Canadian independent artist out there today. James Zindel handles the centre story’s art and James is no slouch either. If Justin’s work rates a 9.9/10 James is a 9.8999. A nice clean cartoonist style that works great with the fun tone of the comic. Donovan Yaciuk also handles colouring chores on the book and if you are looking for a lesson in colour theory and professional, top-notch colouring, Donovan is your man. Every shade, every highlight is perfect. He even changes his lighting technique between the two segments perfectly. A master class in colouring. Andrew Thomas displays his usual high-quality letter on the book. Panels seem intuitively placed, clean and never obstructive or distracting.
This is one heck of a fun ride if you have the right sense of humour and a love for quirky comics. Available for preorder on Gumroad https://gum.co/WUETq
Issue: Adventures of Auroraman Annual #1 | Publisher: Minijeff Productions
Writers: Donovan Yaciuk & James Zintel | Artists: Justin Shauf, James Zintel & Donovan Yaciuk
Lettering: Andrew Thomas | Editor: Donovan Yaciuk
Price: $4.50 – 28 pages