Staff: Kelly Matten and Waker farrell
Wonderful creepy pasta in comic form.
Ok so today’s main dish is Penny Palabras, a supernatural story by James B Willard and Patrick K Beavers. We are given a brief introduction that describes a girl (Penny) who is terrorized by a paranormal entity known as “the straw man” and she seeks to find a way to free herself from him. It’s a pretty novel concept off the bat and I’m psyched to get into it! Lets dive into, Penny Palabras (Episode One: The Spectacular Revolver).
Let’s start with the visuals. The art is a drag grayscale that uses a lot of negative space and rough lines. It’s very fitting with the theme and is a stylistic choices rather than a demonstration of the limits of the artist. Mix that with the almost handwritten typography and you have a wonderful visual presentation. There are a few limits brought on by the art style and things I wished they had find a way around (some of the dark grey dialogue bubbles have their edges lost against other areas of dark grey due to a lack of stroke for example). That being said, the art is not professional grade but I almost doesn’t want professional grade with a comic like this. It fits too well. It’s dirty and messy, just like the story.
The story is narrated from the perspective of an odd little girl but before you start shouting “gothic-Alice syndrome!” she defies the cliche. Penny is one of the few female protagonists who doesn’t seem to be just a pair of breasts and hips, she is more than that. I could have seen this character being written as a male or female, but I get the feeling that if Penny had been a guy it would have been a much more “emo” comic. Instead Penny is tough yet still sensitive enough to be vulnerable and have problems.
There is some clever writing that match the clever visuals. The story is very engaging and they make use of both the visual and literary aspects of the medium (example: talking about the skull faced man you can see in the moon while moon is right there). There is an art to that and it’s well done here. It leaves us on a cliffhanger, asking more questions than it really answers, and while as a reader that bothers me a bit- it works. It snags you hook-line and sinker and pulls you along for a ride. Penny Palabras doesn’t fall into the trap of a lot of first issues where it just hammers you with exposition. No, it establishes things pretty quick and actually progresses the tale by page 24.
All and all this is a fantastic little comic. Right now it’s donation for the first issue and I strongly suggest you pick up a copy if your into the horror, supernatural or even just plain mystery genres. Totally worth a read.