First off, a big thank you to all our readers for requesting small press coverage. So! Here’s our first in-depth look at a small press comic!
The Magnificent Black Mage is a comic that I had not heard of until today. It’s a decent little comic, with some interesting artwork. There’s clear room for improvement; but all in all it’s pretty good!
The comic opens in a really typical way, teenager who’s a little awkward in school with the girls etc. Which really just felt like the opening to a Spider-Man re-launch. But what I do have to applaud is that about four pages or so in, they changed it into a bit of a page turner.
The writer, Daryyll B. Carter manages to almost tell two intertwining stories at once for a short while without confusing the reader. Which takes real skill, but what is more interesting is to see if they can pull this off without the racist warning that has been hammering Marvel with Black Panther.
Another thing that concerned me was the fact that the name changed towards the end for what I can see as no reason. It goes from “Dan-Yel” to “Donil“. I re-read over this a few times to see if I had missed something, and it could be two separate characters but they just don’t bridge that in a clear way, even now I’m not sure!
Moving on to the artwork, this is where the comic had a great shine, though the cover is simply shoddy. It looks like a cheap flash knock up. The cover to a comic is the most important element when trying to gain attention. Dennis Crisostomo really knows how to illustrate a comic to turn it from something relatively plain into something magnificent. But it wasn’t flawless, the comic images were perfectly aligned, as it was digital – until page 13~14. Where there’s a great shot, with the images almost telling the story without the need for words. But it’s ruined by it being unaligned in the centre. Dennis has worked for Marvel as an inker, and is damn good at it. So I hope that maybe, as this comic gets more interest we will see it sharpen up on a few fronts.
The lettering is great, it translated moderately well to digital – though would be nicer in print. The lettering feels highly professional, and has a really nice feel to it. Small attention to detail has been paid well, and I didn’t really find myself misreading anything or reading anything in the wrong order.
The letter, Nikki Foxrobot has clearly made this comic feel as though it was hand lettered, something a lot of small press forget to do. And to be honest it can really affect a comic.
It’s clear the team behind it have really tried hard to put together a comic that has a professional feel, but with what seems to be limited resources.
All in all, it’s worth a read, because it’s free here! but I have to say, ending on what felt like a fart joke was just pretty poor – Know your audience, Darryll.