Incarnate #1


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Incarnate #1


  • Words: Nick Simmons
  • Art: Nick Simmons
  • Inks: Matt Dalton
  • Colors: Brian Buccellato
  • Story Title: Little Boy Death
  • Publisher: Radical Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Aug 4, 2009

Stepping out of the shadow of his famous rocker Dad, Nick Simmons creates a horror hybrid of American Comics and Japanese Manga in this intriguing debut!

Mot is a Revenant. He is undead, has walked the world for centuries. He hungers for flesh, but secretly he wants release. He feels a call and gets his faithful sidekick Connor. Together they go to a gathering of their kind and find out that the Sanctum, a religious group as old as them, may have found a way to kill them. Is it possible and will Mot really meet his maker openly?

Nick Simmons branches out on his own in this title. Long under the shadow of his father, that member of an infamous band, his only previous comic credit is as a writer on his dad’s House of Horrors. Here he not only writes the script, but does the penciling as well.

Radical calls Incarnate an American Manga and that description is somewhat apt. From a panel design and stylistic point of view, Simmons seems to get manga as much as Adam Warren does in Empowered. However, the storytelling, the actual prose of the comic, is more straightforward like most traditional US comics.

The panels leap and zag. Often they overlay each other and in the best Eastern style, the characters and action can become three dimensional as they reach out of the lines boxing them in. The layouts are almost uniformly expertly laid out. There is one sequence early on that reads awkwardly no matter which way the panels are read, but the grasp on graphic narrative is strong, especially for a debut artist.

The character designs are reminiscent of Monkey Punch’s Lupin III. There is a playfulness to the bodies, a lankiness and while distinctly angular, the round iconography of the Japanese style is still present. There are panels that relate that jovial quality that is so prevalent in the boy’s Manga of Japan. Think One Piece and Dragon Ball. However, as with most of the more mature themed Japanese comics, this is an ultraviolent bloodfest. The bullets fly quick, blades slice bodies, and crimson flows in the streets.

As I said earlier, the story on the other hand is paced like a Western comic. While there may be some detailed action in the panel work and the occasional room perspective series of shots, the story is told through dense dialogue and rich scene-to-scene work.

There is a real sense in the characterization of Mot, and the comic aptly underscores his reluctance to keep living his life endlessly. However, he hides this in front of his protégé, the more loose-minded Connor. It is obvious that Connor is newer at the game of being a walking corpse, but even he notes the youthful appearance of his mentor. Mot is supposed to use this appearance to lull his victims into a sense of security and this is utilized later in the book to a bone-chilling, yet predicatable effect.

Incarnate avoids the quick characterization built on stereotypical models often found in mainstream Manga that makes its way to the West. Simmons is concerned with creating real characters that resonate with his audience through realistic personality as opposed to iconic role playing. In this way he combines the sensibilities of both storytelling models, creating an interesting hybrid that works differently but should appeal to both audiences. Even his approach to the artwork should be welcome to the most stalwart defender of the traditional American look of comics.

This is an intriguing debut that should garner notice from both sides of the comics audience. Hopefully, it is one that will broaden the horizons of conservative fans of both camps. Incarnate could be the comics missing link.

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  • KSlaughter

    KSlaughter Feb 26, 2010 at 7:44am

    I wonder if you've heard about this lately.
    These links are all about the comic known as Incarnate,
    a comic that was reviewed by you in August of last year,
    and about how so many of the panels so closely resemble
    panels of popular Manga to the point that they can be
    overlayed and have the same exact line structure and
    overall placement, suggesting that the pages were traced.

    I was wondering what your opinion on this is? You did a
    review on it, so I was curious if you had heard about it and
    what your reaction to the situation is.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this,

    K. Slaughter






  • Lee Newman

    Lee Newman Feb 27, 2010 at 9:43am

    Yes, I have heard the reports. I do not know what to think at this point. Of course, none of this was known to me when I reviewed the book. Looking at the panels that have been presented... there is definitely referencing going on, but as far as plagarism, that is not my call to make. Tite Kubo seems to be pleased with all the attention his book is getting as a result and maybe that is the way we should approach it.

  • bren

    bren Mar 3, 2010 at 3:31am

    Just a small correction: Tite Kubo's "book" is actually 30+ volumes and it's one of the most popular manga, even in the US, let alone in Japan. It outsells 'Incarnate' about a million to one.

  • Richard Boom

    Richard Boom Mar 3, 2010 at 4:54am

    maybe that is exactly why Kubo's response is not vengeful !!

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