I don’t know anything about football or its players, but even I can enjoy Angelo DeCesare’s “The Sack-rifice.”
Partly it’s because I have a soft spot for Moose. Though he’s usually portrayed as a dim bulb and is often the butt of the joke, I like his sincerity and good heart. DeCesare captures both those qualities here as the big football player struggles with the idea of breaking a record held by his idol linebacker Michael Strahan. There’s something sweet and admirable about Moose being confident enough in his abilities to know he can beat Strahan’s record, but humble enough to know he’ll never be the player Strahan was.
The other reason I enjoyed the story is that is has the same inventive, comic energy that the Marx Brothers’ Horse Feathers has. Michael Strahan sneaks around in disguise to help the team; Moose takes good advice both literally and the wrong way with comic results; the opposing team plays dirty tricks to win. While Moose is very much the innocent, DeCesare doesn’t laugh at him. Instead he invites the audience to laugh with the big football player and cheer him on to victory.
The art team of Dan Parent, Rich Koslowski, Jack Morelli and Digikore Studios do their usual great job. Through the posing of the characters and the weight of the lines that make them up, Parent and Koslowski can create a sense of bodies
being at rest.
The characters also display a wide range of emotions. There’s a wonderful panel showing Archie confronting a life-size cutout of Strahan. His eyes are wide and his arms akimbo. It’s “Fight or Flight” response to the T. In another panel, Moose renounces football forever. His face shows cool confidence in his decision. The alternating bands of orange radiating outward from his figure are a nice touch, emphasizing his determination.
Beneath its goofball antics, “The Sack-rifice” is an entertaining story that teaches a lesson about character and friendship. Whether you like football or not, you should take a chance and
For the past 13 years, Penny Kenny has been an elementary library paraprofessional in a rural school district. For the seven years prior to that, she headed a reading-math program designed to help first grade students with learning difficulties. Her book reviews regularly appeared in Starlog from 1993 to the magazine’s unfortunate demise in 2009 and she has published several e-novellas under a pen name. She has been a reviewer with Comics Bulletin since 2007.