Graphic Novel Review – Sons of Fire Vol. 1
Looking at something else self-published today with the first volume of Adam Lance Garcia’s Sons of Fire. Adam Lance Garcia is a television writer, and this is his first self-published work on top of a few licensed titles. The artist for this series is Heidi Black, a Savannah College of Art and Design graduate who has also published a tutorial artbook. This volume was released in May 2014.
The story takes place in a series of long flashbacks being retold by the main character, Jacob Crowe, to a young researcher. This is a narrative convention that I would normally question the purpose of, but the great dialogue between the two characters makes the talky scenes that take place in present day enjoyable. In an odd turn around, the dialogue in the flashback segments is far more simple and strewn with profanities, but the quick pace of the events happening and the wide scope of characters developed in a very short amount of time is masterfully done. Jacob Crowe is haunted by the fire that killed his former hero cop father and younger brother, torn apart by his home life with his mother and step-father, and physically disabled by a palm burn from a scalding door knob. Jacob is tormented after school by a local ruffian who despised his father, and the violence that the ruffian visits upon the lead has to be stopped by the local star quarterback, Andrew Danner. The summary for the series implies that Danner is more than he seems, which is where the next volume will pick up.
Heidi Black did the pencils, inks and presumably the lettering for this volume. The style of the human characters is done in a somewhat simpler fashion than the way that you see from many modern comic books released by DC. The muscles and structure of the faces lack the detail to be called as realistic as the well designed and rendered backgrounds. Keeping the level of detail lower on the characters, but a high level of detail in the background can create a nice “masking” effect, where the characters pop out from the background due to the contrast. The problem with choosing to do this comes when, such as in this book, some characters have burn scars on their body, which demands a high level of detail. My suggestion for the artwork moving forward would be to add more definition to the facial muscles on the characters, perhaps going more in the direction of Darick Robertson’s work on Transmetropolitan, which also features characters with scars and burns.
While there are small flaws in the surface of the work, the sum total of its parts and masterful use of quick character development make the first volume of Sons of Fire a worthy read. Look forward to another bushel of pages in Fall 2015.