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Friday, October 7, 2016

Cluck. Dustin Schmidt (Writer), Gabe Ostley (Art). WP Comics (2016

Very entertaining short comic with smart set up and astounding art. Detective Cluckowski is a police office for whom the rules are an optional extra, partnered with a inexperience officer who is replacing Cluckowski's deceased partner, they have a dramatic start to their partnership.
For anyone with a passing knowledge of television police dramas this is the basic story set up and Dustin Schmidt uses it without any twists or upgrades. This is a really smart approach, the short ongoing comic has to establish everything very fast and taking a familiar framework is an effective way to do so. The story has been set up, everyone introduced and the possible backstory hinted at, where it goes from here is wide open. The set up allows Dustin Schmidt total freedom to move in any direction he chooses. The more significant reason this is such a smart choice is that the art is so dominant that any writing that demands attention would be elbowed out anyway. Far better to write in a way that supports the art and allows it shine as brightly as it needs.
Gabe Ostley's art is an explosion of colour, form and energy that takes a short story and fills it so much the comic feels like a much longer read. Detective Cluckowski has a chicken head on a human body and a rampaging bad attitude that just steams off the page. He is every rouge police office cliche turned to 11 and still utterly and uniquely himself. The rest of the cast are still in his giant shadow, they have not got the chance to make an impression yet.
The fantastic colouring is so loud and dramatic that it could easily drown out the story,instead it amplifies the energy of the art and gives the story huge momentum.
The lettering is smart, Cluck has different speech bubbles to the rest of the cast, everything is pushing him as different, the whole story and cast just treat him as normal. This gives the story a great lift and opens possibilities that I look forward to seeing.
Cluck takes a standard story idea and gives it an unexpected makeover, the balance between the writing and the dominant art is pitched perfectly. This is a great set up, there are really strong and intriguing possibilities ahead.
Chief Wizard Note: This is a review copy very kindly sent by Kim Roberts. If you would like to purchase a copy of Cluck, you should give yourself the pleasure that a really smart comic brings, you can do so from

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