In anticipation of this week's review pick, Lee continues reviewing the inaugural run of Powell and Hotz's Billy The Kid's Old Timey Oddities.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Billy the Kid's Old-Timey Oddities #2
Writer: Eric Powell
Penciller: Kyle Hotz
Cover Artist: Eric Powell
Genre: Humor, Horror, Action/Adventure
After a long journey across the ocean, Billy the Kid and Finneas Sproule's band of sideshow performers find themselves in a creepy European village-a village not found on any map. It is here that Sproule believes they will find "The Golem's Heart," an ancient artifact worth a fortune. However, the Heart is in the possession of the infamous mad scientist, Dr. Frankenstein. To retrieve it, the group must seek him out!
Don't miss the second issue of Billy The Kid's Old Timey Oddities from Goon creator Eric Powell and horror artist extraordinaire, Kyle Hotz!
• Recipient of the International Horror Guild Award and 2003 Eisner Award-(The Goon)
• Featuring art by fan-favorite artist Kyle Hotz from The Agency and The Hood
Publication Date: May 25, 2005
Format: FC, 32pg, 2 (of 4)
UPC: 7 61568 10373 1
The second chapter of the inaugural run of Billy the Kid's Old Time Oddities finds our band of unlikely heroes travel to the village of Dr. Frankenstein. He is the holder of the treasure Fineas seeks. Along the way, we learn a little more about the dynamics of the group and are shown that the group is quite literally surrounded by creatures of an unknown type and origin.
There is a shift in tone in the second issue. It is not as wild and fun. That's not to say that it is neither, but this issue sees more of a mood develop. Powell takes a back seat to the incredible art work of Hotz. The artist quite expertly creates an ambiance. A reader might, at first, assume that it is a Scooby-Doo like eeriness given the humor present in the book. However, like the Hanna-Barbara cartoon, it is probably more likely a homage to the old EC comics. It is creepy and dark. There are spirals of smoke. There is a sparseness even though the village is shown to be somewhat cramped.
Even more so than the first issue, there is a glee in the design here. The various influences dissipate to create a new style that belongs alone to Hotz, but shows all those that came before. The buildings and creatures take on a new life, a new design and the book is all the more beautiful because of the strange things lurking and bumping in the night.
Even though the art takes center stage here, the story does not slack off. There is exploration of the relationship between the wild man and the boy. The stubbornness of Billy is shown in his futile pursuit of the tattooed woman. Fineas recounts the story of Frankenstein and catches the reader up on what has happened after Shelley's account. It is not as dense as the first issue, but more dense than your typical tale by JMS.
The story shows the same kind of homage that the art does. The Old Timey Oddities are almost an anti-League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The group is stripped of the pretense of literary merit and revel in their primordial archetypes. It is just as effective a device for exposition, but allows Powell to create a more thorough world than Moore had to. He borrows some from others as well. The script owes as much to the old Tales from the Crypt comics as it does Hellboy. Mignola's Seeds is referenced in the Alligator Man's mission to the castle. It almost makes the reader salivate for an Oddities/BPRD crossover.
This is a second issue that doesn't let off from the wonder of the first. The shifts in tone and the density of the story create a narrative that remains compelling and masterful.
Review by: Lee Newman