Publisher: Scout Comics
Writer/Artist: Kristen Gudsnuk
This is such a great time to be a fan of comics, particularly independent ones. Almost every week at least one new and totally original title that examples smart store and fantastic cartooning. This past Wednesday, 10/28, was no exception as we saw the transition of the web comic Henchgirl into a physical serialized book. Henchgirl is a creator owned title by Kristen Gudsnuk, who has a unique style that is just so gosh darn fun. Check out more of her art here!
Mary Posa works for one of the major villains in Crepe City, Monsieur Butterfly. The job is incredibly taxing and very dangerous, but that doesn't stop Mary! This issue starts with a big heist by the Butterfly gang that gets thwarted by a local superhero, Mr. Great Guy. As Mary flees she faints from exhaustion, and awakes to being carried by a young man dressed as a toy soldier. From their the story unfolds into the everyday life of Mary as she deals with her roommate, a weapons hand off, the "company" kiss ass, you know... regular henchperson stuff. When the opportunity comes for her to move up in the Butterfly gang with one big score, she decides to take her criminal activity to the next level!
Gudsnuk has created a character that is 100% impossible not to like! From her hard (yet villainous) work ethic and the pride she takes in it, she is a never ending source of positivity. All of the interactions we get to witness between Mary and her supportive cast, especially those between her and the male protagonist of the story, have nuggets of wit mixed with easily exhibited exposition that provide introductions to each character. Basically to recap, in one single issue we get to see an enjoyable day in the life story that introduces us to a strong female protagonist who just happens to be a bit of a villainess as well as the rivalries in her life and the opportunity to move up. That's a lot to happen, and all of it is not only fun to experience but also great to look at.
Adding to the unparalleled charm of Mary and the gang is Gudsnuk's art style. With an emphasis on hatched shading, heavy outlines and a real painterly quality, there is a distinct level of craftsmanship in every page. The illustrations in this story are particularly fun during the villain/hero moments when we get to see some somewhat goofy but very coordinated costumes choices that add to the fun atmosphere in a big way. Early on in the story we also get a sneak preview of another villain in the series which leads the reader to believe that there is definitely something going on in Crepe City, moreso than just the regular human crimes. Two distinct color palettes give the city a life during the day that is very different than what we see at night, with sort of a sepia tone scheme during the day and a muted, almost serene set of purples and blues at night. Those color choices over the character design of this issue fill the criminal underbelly of Crepe City with life that is a real joy to witness.
It is such a pleasure to be able to witness this comic in print form. Looking at the webcomic, it is obvious that Kristen Gudsnuk has put a done of hard work into this story and by bringing it to the print medium, her and the story will get even more, well deserved attention. As I mentioned earlier, this first issue came out just this past week, and only costs $3.99! Pick it up before your local store runs out!