The British are coming! The British are coming… to ROCK!
Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to have your faces melted (metaphorically speaking)? Then allow me to introduce our headliner for this evening. Put your hands together for…
By Tina Pratt.
Dislcaimer: The characters in this comic have some mouths on them. Full of words. Some of which are dirty. By which I mean, this comic is not for children due to strong language.
The Paul Reveres follows the eponymous Paul Revere. but not as you know him. In a colonial America that somehow has electric guitars, amps, and mics instead of muskets and cannons, Paul and his trusty band fight against British occupation and pop. Truly this is a battle of the bands for the history books. “The tight pants are on and the ridiculous stockings are pulled up. The colonists are ready to rock for their independence.”
Obviously, this comic is not recommended if you’re a history buff with a weak constitution. No historical figures are safe; Paul is a purple-haired punk rocker with emo tendencies, Johnny Tremain is a really handsy creep, Sam Adams is a drunkard, Ethan Allen is the manager of a boy band, and George Washington… just…. George Washington.
Despite the deliberate inaccuracies, there’s clearly a fair bit of research put into the comic’s writing… most of which is then discarded, but the point is the research is still done. Much of the comedy revolves around such blatant anachronisms with a generous helping of anime gags thrown in. The characters themselves are distinct and recognizable, with their own personalities, as well as, appropriately enough, their own styles. I particularly like the rivalry between Paul and Benedict (not Arnold; believe me, that comes into play later). In fact, I can’t help but wonder if Benedict’s last name is really Malfoy; he strikes me as Draco’s dorkier, more likable relative. My only real complaint concerns the poor choice of medium in regards to the subject matter; it’s a bit weird to read a comic (a purely visual medium) about music (something that can’t be conveyed by said medium). It just feels like a loss whenever the characters start playing and all we get are a bunch floating music notes.
The art tends to lack clear and smooth lines of action, which makes panels appear cluttered. Also, while characters’ faces can be comically expressive close up, when they’re not the focus they can look like a jumbled mess of features (maybe face-melting solos aren’t just a figure of speech). Half the time, characters lack joints and their fingers end up looking like they were traced by 2nd graders drawing Thanksgiving hand-turkeys…
But, you know what? I just can’t bring myself to dislike this comic’s art. I may question it, but, on some level, it appeals to me. This is a comic about ROCK, a genre of music known for throwing rules out the window and going against the norm simply because it’s exciting, different, and scads of fun. SCADS I SAY! As long as that remains the spirit of this comic, I can’t fault it for that. I can’t always tell exactly which elements of the art are the result of deliberate style and skill and which just came out that way, but in the end it doesn’t matter to me. I do like a lot of the visual gags that Pratt uses, in particular, the use of actual words or phrases instead of your typical comic action sounds. She also does some impressively cool things with the paneling. She never settles into a standard format, instead skewing panels or breaking them entirely; again, keeping true to the spirit of the comic.
What’s that? “Perspective”? “On model”? Screw your standards. DIS IS RAWK!
Don’t get me wrong. I like the style. I like how very Sonic the Hedgehog some of the characters’ hair is, especially Benedict’s. In fact, the whole comic has a slight Sonic Underground vibe to it (a music pun, yes), which only furthers the radical, multicolored free spirit of the comic. And while the art may seem odd or even ugly to some readers, I appreciate the parallel it makes with the first emergence of Rock. Unusual art and animation has been gaining ground over the years, with shows like Adventure Time and a slew of Nickelodeon animations. It’s becoming a thing. Some would argue it already has.
With an vibrant color palette, energetic attitude, fun characters, and a willingness to walk outside the lines, The Paul Reveres is a great comic for people looking to just rock out. You say you want a revolution? Well this just might be it.
The Paul Reveres is written and drawn by Tina Pratt. This comic, including all images used here, belongs to her. For more about the comic and its creator, including other reviews and interviews, visit the About page here.
Updates every Friday.
Ed note; Yes, I am aware that the Fourth of July was almost two weeks ago. As soon as my time machine comes back from the shop, I’ll be sure to correct the problem.