Design of the week: Home-grown comic genius

2014-07-13 15:00

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For a longtime comic book fan (read: hoarder) like myself, New York writer Vito Delsante and local artist Sean Izaakse’s latest work is a real treat. It’s hard to get a steady stream of comics in South Africa, let alone find locally made ones.

Stray is a collaboration between these two ­enthusiasts, who were inspired by comics like Watchmen and Batman, and wanted to make something of their own. They have been ­immensely successful.

The team needed about R86?000 to produce the first issue and, after crowdsourcing on ­Kickstarter, raised more than R120?000 in ­November last year.

For those who think Stray is just another ­comic, let me stop you right there. Having looked at the work with a somewhat seasoned eye, I can vouch for its quality.

Izaakse makes use of clean lines and strong colour contrasts, but this is no copycat nonsense. His characters pop off the page, and there is a great sense of movement and life in the drawings. Similarly, Delsante’s strong ­story line about a hero avenging the death of his ­mentor has impact, perhaps because of its ­autobiographical roots, and it’s a great diversion from the “save the world” sequence that so often emerges in comic fiction.

I’m not the only one who thinks it’s cool. Stan Lee, co-creator of Marvel’s signature characters, gave the Stray team a big thumbs up on Twitter. For comic novices who don’t grasp the gravity of this compliment, you could liken it to Gordon Ramsay saying you cooked a great dinner. Priceless.

Stray will arrive in stores in January 2015

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