Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Shaun Simon
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Fantasy is as much a part of daily life as is breathing. It’s only natural to want an escape when one has become too accustomed to the comforts or discomforts of their waking life. But what about beings of pure imagination? Might they imagine a world in which they go to routine doctor’s visits, work to support a family, and all the other minutiae that comes from living an ordinary life? That’s the question posed by Neverboy #1, the latest comic from writer Shaun Simon, artist Tyler Jenkins, and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick.
Neverboy is the story of the titular character, an imaginary friend made real with the help of drugs after the death of the child who dreamed him up. His is a struggle to escape the imaginary and to stay grounded in the real world in which he is a husband and a father. As such, the book rides a fine line between what is real and not with an opening sequence that feels right out of Fight Club. The sequence sees Neverboy at the hospital and in a state of unreality where the only treatment he is able to get is from an off-screen presence that reveals itself after a small amount of monologuing from Neverboy to be a child dressed up as a doctor.
There are various instances in which Neverboy and his family go unnoticed by other people while still appearing to interact with them to some small degree. It’s a little confusing before one begins to realize that these characters, without the benefit of the drugs Neverboy uses, are becoming more and more imaginary. A reason for that is because the coloring by Kelly Fitzpatrick makes them look like such a part of the world (and early on the world is sort of dull looking with some light beiges and other earthy tones).
When the imaginary begins to assert itself as it does with Neverboy, the colors become somewhat brighter and more primary. Neverboy’s hair gradually becomes whiter to great effect before finally becoming a vibrant flash of white that contrasts well with his bright blue suit. The imaginary full asserts itself as a massive, literal wave of color that overtakes Neverboy’s wife and child. These colors that overtake the characters also happen to be used heavily in the flashbacks to Neverboy’s time as an imaginary friend so there’s an added sense of the past coming back to haunt the character.
Neverboy #1 is a good start made fantastic by strong themes, frenetic artwork, and exceptional color work. It’s a little slight as far as some first issues go so issue two is probably going to be the make or break point. But, as it stands, color me excited to see what happens next.