Jude Terror reviews the first collection of the twice-weekly Zuda webcomic, The Night Owls!
Credits & Solicit Info:
What is The Night Owls? The Night Owls is a twice weekly webcomic written and illustrated by the Timony Twins that runs on DC's Zuda webcomic imprint, at www.zudacomics.com . On the Zuda website, the comic is described as follows:
"The Night Owls" is a Detective Agency set in New York City in the 1920s and specializing in cases that involve the supernatural. Professor Ernest Baxter is the brains of the operation, utilizing his vast knowledge of all things weird to right the wrongs that leave ordinary police baffled! He's a bit of a bookworm, and allergic to sunlight, but his inquisitive nature has led to the downfall of many of New York's deadliest demons! Of course, he couldn't have done it without Mindy Markus. She's a feisty flapper that's put the hurt on a lot of nocturnal nasties! Don't try to tell her she can't fight the forces of evil because she's just a girl, unless you're looking for a face full of feminine fist, that is! Then there's Roscoe, the Gargoyle. He's a tough little bruiser from the Bronx, more at home at the dinner table than on a church roof. Together, they solve the crimes that no one else can solve! When you suspect your wife is a werewolf, when you're haunted by a petulant poltergeist, or caught in the trap of a vicious vampire, your best chance of survival is the Night Owls!
What is Zuda? Zuda is an online webcomic imprint created by DC where readers vote on webcomics submitted by creators and chosen for competition by editors, with the winners being picked up for runs on the website.
In addition, there are "instant winners," comics that are so good that Zuda picks them up without the voting. Night Owls is an instant winner.
The first collected edition contains 180 strips (by my count - it doesn't have page numbers), most in black and white, and is available in stores now. You can also read the strip here: http://www.zudacomics.com/the_night_owls
You can buy the trade on Amazon. Here are the Amazon product details:
In 1920s New York City, Professor Ernest Baxter, an expert in all things arcane, Mindy Markus, a scrappy flapper and Roscoe, a gargoyle from the Bronx, are The Night Owls. Together they solve crimes no one else can, specializing in the supernatural, in this first volume collecting the short stories that make up their webcomic adventures.
* Paperback: 192 pages
* Publisher: Zuda (March 30, 2010)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1401226736
* ISBN-13: 978-1401226732
* Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6 x 0.6 inches
When I first received the Night Owls compilation, I have to admit that I was not expecting to fall in love with it. The cover, featuring the three main characters smiling on a garish, bright orange cover, does nothing to introduce the reader to the cute, pulpy feel of the comic itself. However, once I opened this book up and read the first strip featuring Professor Ernest Baxter, scrappy flapper Mindy Markus, and lovable gargoyle Roscoe, I was drawn in and couldn't stop reading until I had devoured the entire collection.
The strip centers around a paranormal detective agency known as the Night Owls, featuring the three characters listed above, and is set in the 1920s in New York City. The strip draws on pulp and noir influences to create a brilliantly charming little world populated by all sorts of creatures of the night. Set in black and white, the simple art sets the tone perfectly, combining a clear, modern style with all the characteristics of an 80 year old newspaper strip. One part Dick Tracey, one part Scooby Doo, and one part James Cagney gangster movie, the Night Owls is an unexpectedly genius piece of work that manages to capture a spirit of old-timey, pulp action in the decidedly un-pulp format of the sleek online webcomic.
The Night Owls avoids one of the most common pitfalls of webcomics in that it is not targeted towards a niche demographic. The casual reader can appreciate this strip without any understanding of the genres it parodies, while a more discerning reader will find those parodies intricate and hilarious. This book is funny and lovable, and more enthralling than anyone could expect it to be.
At first glance, it is a very lightweight and accessible read, with one or two part stories that don't take any prior knowledge of the characters or world to fully understand. However, as time goes on, before you realize what's happened, the strip has built a rich continuity, complete with recurring villains, well developed characterizations, and even love triangles. Is Professor Ernest Baxter really a vampire? What is the secret origin of Mindy Markus? Is there anything Roscoe won't eat? I'm going to let you read it yourself to find out.
The Night Owls is cute and fun, and well worth your time. Head over to Zuda's website and check it out today, and don't be surprised if you end up addicted.