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Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #1

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Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever #1

Credits

  • Words: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
  • Art: John Severin
  • Colors: Dave Stewart
  • Story Title: "Lost and Gone Forever"
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Release Date: Feb 2, 2011

It’s not often I get to review the work of a true comic book legend. No, I’m not talking about Mike Mignola, although he may one day achieve that status (and probably should, if not for his own artistic talents, then for his uncanny ability to attract the absolute top talent in the industry to his Hellboy books).

I’m talking about John Severin, of course. Inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 2003, Severin’s been working in comics for over half a century, drawing and inking everything from 1950s war stories to Mignola’s peculiar brand of modern horror-action. Known for his impeccable linework and an almost painful attention to detail, if you’re looking for an artist for a period piece, look no further than John Severin.

At 90 years old, it’s amazing Mr. Severin is still active today. In an industry plagued by blown deadlines, ghost artists, and a lack of craft, Mr. Severin is a testament to the hard work and dedication needed to survive as a working comic book artist. And he does it in such grand style too.

Witchfinder is one of the most visually satisfying new reads I’ve had the joy to experience in months. Featuring fully rendered backgrounds, masterful inking, and crisp storytelling, Mr. Severin’s artwork has only gotten better with age. There’s such depth and dynamism infused in each and every panel; an elegant simplicity only highlighted by the complexity of his rendering. Characters are distinct in appearance and expression, from facial features to body language and each background realistically captured in stunning detail. This is the way comics should be: a veritable feast for the eyes that keeps you returning to each page to see what you missed the first time round.

A note to all the Joe Mads, Frank Quitelys, and Rob Liefelds out there: You all just been schooled, bitches…by a 90 year old man.

As a writer, I make a terrible artist, so I typically spend more time examining that aspect of comic book creation in my reviews; generally awestruck by most artists’ abilities to realize the fantastic images in their heads in material form without causing themselves physical pain. This review’s a little different. Mignola and Arcudi do a fine job plotting and scripting this second Witchfinder series – their pacing is crisp and even, their dialogue snappy and easy on the ears.

This is all well and good and I don’t mean to devalue their contributions to the book but the real story here is John Severin’s exquisite art. Pick up Witchfinder for that reason alone, if no other. I promise you this, even though it’s only February, you’ll be in for one of finest visual treats of the year if you do.

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