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Salem #1

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2008
By: Geoff Collins

Chris Morgan & Kevin Walsh
Wilfredo Torres, Andrew Dalhouse (c)
BOOM! Studios
When the solicitations for this book went out, some controversy swirled up as pagans called it intolerant and bigoted. Stephen Colbert on his show reviews movies based solely on the title of the movie and people laugh, saying, ďHa ha, thatís so stupid itís funny,Ē but sadly there really are people out there that stupid. Thatís the reason Harry Potter books all appear on the list of the most banned books and Monty Pythonís Life of Brian was boycotted.

Apparently people that stupid are also reading the solicitations for comic books published by independent companies and feeling compelled to write about the paragraph or two describing the book. They judged it before it was physically possible for them to actually read it -- hell the book probably wasnít even ready to be printed by the time the solicitations went out.

So they prejudged it, which means they also had prejudice towards it and the creators, even though prejudice is what they were pissed at it for supposedly doing. That sentence might not make sense, but if Colbert were to say it, itíd be funny I assure you.

If youíre one of the people who got all pissy about this book before it came out, I want you to know three things before you prejudge what Iím writing:

Youíre so stupid itís funny, ha ha ha.

My e-mail address is readily available through Comics Bulletin.

I think people like you are whatís wrong with America.

In all actuality, the book is meaner to the Christian churches. The witch in the book is more like a demon from a horror movie then an actual person. Speaking as a church going Christian, I wasnít at all offended by this book.

One of the interesting parts to me was that in this issue one of the heroes (the term anti-hero might be more accurate), Elias Hooke, is revealed to be a part of a secret organization associated with the church that hunts witches. Hooke learned that the organization knowingly kills innocent people, so he leaves the group and hunts for real witches his own way. Though the group is associated with the church, the book specifically says that they study a variety of religions, but are Christian, so theyíre not part of any specific church. Itís kind of like Da Vinci Code, but it doesnít claim to be factual when itís mostly fictitious.

My biggest problem is that itís tagged as issue #1, but if you havenít read issue zero then youíre not going to know who the characters are or how they got to where they are. It just starts with them in the woods facing a witch. I got to know a lot about Hooke, but the characters Hannah Foster and Deacon Wood I know little about other then they strayed from their church and appear to be in a forest. There is a brief Ďpreviouslyí page after the first scene, but itís really vague.

The art is pretty good. Itís cartoony but I took the characters seriously, except for the witch who is a tree and looks like a villain from a Disney film. Whatís interesting is that in the background of the Ďpreviouslyí page the artist did up a tree thatís very life like and more menacing then the tree depicted as the witch. Itís almost like proving that he can do better work, but having that much detail on the tree throughout the book would take a lot of attention away from the other characters and throw off the cartoon style of the rest of the scenes.

Iím really impressed by this book. Not so impressed that Iíll recommend it to everyone, but I find it interesting and the concept is solid. Since I didnít get issue zero of it, Iíll buy that as well as issue #2 when I get the chance. Browse it if you see it at the shop.



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