When I was a teenager, a few series were integral in my transition from Marvel and DC reader to proto-hipster comic reader (hashtag woke). The Maxx was one of those series. I was in love with Sam Kieth’s art and, and the story was so bizarre and out there, it really resonated with me. Somehow, I lost track of Sam Kieth, until I stumbled across a new series, Eleanor and the Egret, on which he is the artist and co-creator. Everything about this series made me (almost literally) swoon while reading on the train.
There is an undeniably ethereal feel to all of Sam Kieth’s artwork (more on that later), but John Layman’s dialog and story are equally otherworldly. The titular Eleanor is an art thief with a seemingly magic egret who can both talk and assist Eleanor in her endeavors. Being an initial issue, there isn’t much by way of explanation on how this is possible, but it’s not even necessary. Watching the egret swoop Eleanor through laser beams needs nothing by way of explanation, it’s too delightful.
The dialog, as much as the art, fluctuates between feeling old-fashioned and formal one moment, and casual and modern in the next. This extends to characters, too. In some panels they look and speak straight out of a Doyle novel, and the next, they feel out of an episode of Heist. The characters seem to exist in a delightful between-time world. Also, I feel it’s necessary to mention that the delightful nod to Le Chat Noir made my heart flutter, and not just because I have a soft spot for the iconic art poster. I love art winks and nods and hope to see more of them.
Given that it’s a first issue, it’s hard to make too many long-tail comments or predictions other than the series is clearly going to be a cat and mouse (or cat and bird, as it were), between our stalwart detective and Eleanor herself. She has hinted that money isn’t her primary motivator, which is all the hook I need. I also feel as though that cat and mouse will swoon more toward the romantic side, which fills me with excitement. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good thievery comic, much less one with a solid female character and a magical talking bird. What else do you need in life?
Our Rating: YUS
Authors: John Layman
Artists: Sam Kieth (YASS KWEEN)
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Publish Date: 04/05/2017
Acquired via Purchase