(W/A) Howard Chaykin
Most comics are easy enough to follow because of its engaging plot, characters or even the art style that’s presented. But what happens when we take a step back to analyze the comic industry itself? I am certainly not an expert in this industry, but I can easily say that Howard Chaykin’s Hey Kids! Comics! #1 gives readers the opportunity to take a look at the evolution of the comic industry. The comic follows a group of artists from the 1940s through the decades. Unfortunately, the comic industry experiences trend and the artists have to adapt to survive. Now, everyone is scrambling on a rat race to try and find the right publisher, the right idea, and the right timing to be able to stay afloat in this ever-changing industry.
The plot itself is eye-catching as I was able to see how an industry changed throughout the decades in New York City. While this story does not represent every publisher and may not have any historical semblance to other comic publishers, it’s an interesting story that’s filled with intrigue in regards to the changes the comic industry faces. It’s important that there are time shifts leading to a shifty plotline. It’s up to the readers to be able to spot the connections and put timelines together. This isn’t bad, but I caught myself going back through a few pages trying to find past details that matched up later on in the story. I really enjoyed the time shifts, but I wished the creators would have taken the time to make all of the details in the time shifts obvious and coherent with each decade.
The characters in this story were amazing to see. They driven and ambitious, and each character had their own goal. They weren’t soft or easy to manipulate, every single one of them was trying to survive in an industry that tried to change. One of my favorite characters in the story was Benita Heindel. She’s the only female staff member and has one of my favorite side-stories in the book. Without spoiling a lot, she knows how to take care of herself while working with a group of men. Even though there are times she’s snubbed by them, she holds herself as one of them and is able to manipulate the tables to get what she wants.
Chaykin’s art style is reminiscent of DC comics from the 2000’s, but with a more realistic feel to bring it up to date. The art is stunning to look at because of its coloring and vibrant, detailed backgrounds. The character designs were decent and clean to look at, but I wish that their expressions had more animated looks to them. I could identify what their emotions read on their faces, but it didn’t match the actions they were doing. The expressions were drawn really well, but I just wished for a little bit more emphasis on the emotions.
Overall, the story is a good way to learn about the comic industry throughout the decades. The characters were an ambitious group of adults trying to survive another day. The art style was very nice to look at, but I just wished for a little more when it came to character expressions. Overall, this comic is for the reader that wants to take a trip in time to see how a winner is made.