Tony Esmond & Cliff Cumber put their collective heads together to bring us a story about the life of aging movie star, Tony Osmond, and I knew straight away that this was one I was going to dive into at some point.
It all opens with a glimpse at some of the movies Tony O has appeared in and it’s pretty obvious that he fits into a category of actor where anything goes in the films he has become notorious for. That gives way to a TV talk show as he publicizes his new book and just when you think this is going to ease into something straight-forward things are thrown into the air as Tony E & Cliff decide to keep us firmly on our toes.
The chaos ends up becoming a bit of a blur and his movie persona & everyday self are far more in-sync than it first appeared but that madness is something that really fuels the plot. The violence, the harsh language, the sexism & chauvinism are there but you feel like Tony O is on the brink of being made to face the repercussions of that. Things weave their way to a conclusion of sorts and then the epilogue throws us a curveball that could see more from this character and a recognizable face from some of Tony E’s other books (which you should also be reading)
It feels like Tony E is writing about the things he knows about and while that may cover some of the more frowned upon character traits it’s clear to see that here they have a purpose. They make the central character vile enough that you want to see what happens to him but the confident swagger that feels set into his bones is an intriguing element too. That’s all given tangible & gritty realism by Cliff’s clean lines that help him give pages the detail they need to capture every ounce of a world that blurs movies & real-life. The layouts and energy in the art glow in this book and Cliff makes a powerful beginning in his first (& hopefully not his last) comic book outing. Ken Reynolds injects his own sense of pace to the proceedings with his typically effortless lettering as well and the core team are on fire.
There’s then the slick addition of movie posters at the back of this issue that helps give a sense of validity to the persona Tony O embodies and with Raechel Leigh Carter, Vince Hunt, Kevin Couling & Dan Butcher all adding their own take on the central character to emphasize just how warped but believable he is.
At first reading it felt like this was a short read but on revisiting it & taking the time to soak in every grimy detail by exploring the opening glimpses of movie scenes and then the movie posters at the end, it became clear that there was much more layering in this than I had first realised. It’s testament to the Tony E, Cliff & Ken team, just how well the world has been constructed and it leaves me keen to see more of this which has to be seen as a win. Harsh in places, action-filled in others but ultimately surprising & entertaining and all with a sense of style and subtle world-building that you discover with further re-reads……more of this please.
You can grab yourself a copy over on the Tribute Press online store and check out what else they are working on over at their Facebook & Twitter pages. You can also check-in with each of the creators & contributors through the links below:
Chris – Twitter
Vince – Twitter
Kevin – Twitter