Overview

Archibald Saves Christmas

Review

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Archibald Saves Christmas

Credits

  • Words: Dwight L. MacPherson
  • Art: Grant Bond
  • Inks: Grant Bond
  • Colors: Grant Bond
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Image Comics/Shadowline Entertainment
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Nov 28, 2007

From the cover alone you know that Archibald Saves Christmas is going to be quite a read.  Art in the style of pre-Disney black-and-white animation?  Check.  Characters as archetypically portrayed as anything from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  Whole slew of checks.  A world as gritty, dirty, and oh-so-wrong as anything from Meet the Feebles?  Check for every goddamned panel.  A story wonderfully blood-thirsty and wholly unsympathetic to any of its characters?  Lemme tell ya, if that sounds like entertainment, then this comic is entertainment squared.

The story’s a straight-forward one: main character Archibald is released from the insane asylum, after spending five years incarcerated there, after his co-star twin brother is brutally murdered and following a fresh new murder for every movie Archibald attempts to make hence.  Now, years later, Archibald signs to make a new celluloid epic, one co-starring the bona fide Santa Claus.  Will Santa be the next victim?  Or can Archibald save Christmas?

Rising star Dwight L. MacPherson (The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo, Dead  Men Tell No Tales), for all the story’s seemingly epic, high-action qualities, in truth cranks out a moody, funny (and not always funny ha-ha), atmospheric, and sometimes troubling piece of fiction.  Archibald is a cipher of a protagonist, but the plot hinges upon making a slow character study of his current life.  The book kick-starts with a perfectly mood-setting moment, following a cantankerous diva called Rodney the Rooster as he storms off a movie set in search of some alcohol and “me” time.  Yet immediately thereafter, Archibald takes center stage, and the story cools to a Chinatown-like lull, as Archibald meanders through what little is left of his life.  And blood is on the horizon, and not quite in the way that anyone is likely to expect.

So a very appealing (well, maybe, if you like this sort of thing) story, but with a concept such as this, the art will be its true selling point.  Thankfully, Archibald is in fact the artist in question’s creation, a thing given life originally through his pen alone, and so he’s perfectly suited to carry it out.  Grant Bond is the name (of Revere and Clockwork Girl fame) and he handles full art chores to unleash a perfect rendition of the cartoon-era Hollywood the book bashes so thoroughly.  Characters brandish body language and expressions instantly recognizable as being from the source material, and Bond even goes so far as to wash the pages with a spotty, lined, damaged film-stock veneer.  A perfect, eye-candy packaging to this irresistible treat!

Archibald Saves Christmas is a book that will hardly need reviews or press to be a sold-out hit.  Anyone spotting this puppy on the racks will near impulsively take it home.  If The Last Christmas can do it, Archibald, an even superior gem to that sleeper mini-series hit, should follow suit.  Not much else to say: great concept, intriguing story, friggin’ gorgeous art.  Best thing Image has got going right this very minute, and Image has got a lot of really great things going.

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