October 2, 2009

, , ,   |  

Old-timey Hockey Tales!

Written by Rob Ullman
Illustrated by Rob Ullman
Self-Published

What better way to start the hockey season than a mini-comic chronicling some hockey stories from the 1950s? While Lord Stanley may be far from its traditional home of the original six, this comic features tales of the Maple Leafs, Red Wings, and Canadians.

I grabbed this as my last SPX purchase at the suggestion of Jeffrey Brown, and I'm glad I did. Historical comics are always interesting to me (long time readers know I'm a huge fan of Rick Geary), and it's nice to see hockey get that treatment by a creator whose illustrations are realistic enough to make the project work.

The three stories contained in this issue feature Bill Barilko, who died tragically in a plane crash (and whose team would not win a Cup again until they found him), the origin of Quebec's nationalist movement (maybe!), and the feature piece, a hockey biography of Terry Sawchuk.

With the most space in which to work, Ullman uses his pen to highlight main points of Sawchuk's life, giving the illustrations just enough of a cartoonish feel to be amusing, without making light of the subject material. (His restraint in the panel about Sawchuk's poor domestic life is admirable.) Sawchuk played in an era with little protection for goalies, but was arguably better than any other goalie who ever played the game. His story, however, is definitely tragic.

If you want to read more on the stories, Ullman helpfully provides his references, a nice touch in a short work like this. Plus, there's a bonus pin-up by Kevin Huizenga on the back cover.

You can probably find at a small-press con somewhere, but if not, check out his web site for more of his comics and pin-up work, both of which you can purchase directly from him.

Now...if I may be sports-geeky for a moment...Let's Go Pens! :)