Bartez is a comic I found at Intervention Con, mostly because the author, Ryan, was right across the aisle from me. I never heard of the project before that weekend, so I bought a copy of the book. Once the convention madness died down, I finally sat down to read it.
And you know what? I like it.
Is it life-altering? No. Is it fun? Yes, and delightfully silly to boot.
The story follows Jimmy Barton, an average guy who works in IT, who still hangs out with a lot of his old high school buddies, and lives in the town he’s always grown up in. He’s also a bit of a quitter – he tries new things, but he never sticks to them for very long. Tae Kwon Do? Wrestling? Parkour? Nope, nope, and nope.
That is, until he discovers one of his old friends was murdered by a rogue member of a secret society. And now, Jimmy might be next on the murderer’s hit list! Will he be able to actually stick to something and learn how to save himself?
The book I read is the first volume in a series, but I don’t know how long the series will be. It’s a series I want to read, though! Now let me tell you why.
The art, which seems (very) influenced by the likes of Bryan Lee O’Malley and Vera Brosgol, is sharp, clean, and easy to read. In an art style like this it can be easy to make the characters look alike. Thankfully, the artist (Gale Williams) does a wonderful job creating unique character visuals. I could tell Jimmy apart from his friends, and even the ladies look varied and stylized.
The action scenes are sporadic, but are drawn very well. I look forward to seeing what future action scenes in later volumes will look like!
The writing is, at the start, slow. The writer definitely takes his time developing the characters and scenarios, which isn’t a bad thing. I appreciate the slowness a bit because in too many comics nowadays people are rushing to get to the action. In Bartez you’re supposed to see what life is like before things get crazy. And Ryan Peraro does a great job showing everyday situations.
Once things start getting crazy, Ryan has built up the characters and the scenario enough that you believe what happens in the story. It’s actually pretty brilliant.
And you know what? The art and the writing work fantastically together in this comic. There are two creators on the project but it feels like one unified voice. That, to me, is wonderful.
Have you found any comics worth reading? Did you read Bartez? Let me know in the comments!
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow with new artwork.