A Comic A Day in May – Day 4: Deep-Ender #1

I’ve been a fan of John Lees work since he hit the indie comic scene with The Standard and while he’s hit success after success with his horror tales, his latest release sees him venture out into the sporting rom-com genre.

It follows the mild-mannered Ollie Stigall as he tries his best to recover from a traumatic near death experience at sea that hit him six months ago.  He chooses to face that fear head-on by learning to swim at his local swimming baths and it’s here that the fun begins.  A curious mix of characters inhabit the swimming baths from an incompetent owner/employee to the random mix of other pool users that constantly challenge Ollie’s daily routine which in itself is enough of a hurdle for him.

He battles his inner-demons, fears and social awkwardness with a great sense of vigour though and it’s this constant willingness to improve that makes Ollie a character you can instantly warm to.  He’s troubled but trying his best and while he navigates the different social groups in and around the pool, it’s the presence of love-interest Silvia Morena that brings him his biggest challenge.  His swimming prowess improves as the practice sessions come & go and he’s soon adopted into his own place in the pool hierarchy but his inevitable interactions with Silvia are just glorious.  A mix of innocent bumbling and awkward social stumbling sees some amazing laugh out loud moments that would pop into my head after reading and make me laugh again.

John has done an amazing job as much with creating a glorious set of new characters, as with taking a step out of horror into a new genre he’s been able to achieve the same level of success at.  It’s that ability to surprise that separates the great writers from the good and pairing up with Jules Rivera on art definitely leans this release towards the ‘great’ category.  The simple but effective artwork keeps the focus on the flow of the story and the colour work from Jules & Ashton Wagner breathes a deep sense of life into the story.  Kudos to Colin Bell on lettering as he does some great work on emphasising the key moments as the story progresses.

Funny, heartwarming & engaging from the beginning, it’s a book that oozes much more charm than you might expect. Can’t wait to read more.

For more on DEEP-ENDER, subscribe to John’s newsletter and visit the Patreon pages of both creators at the links below:

John’s Patreon

Jules’ Patreon

9/10

G-Man

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