December 22, 2011

The Serial Squad!

Written by Paul E. Schultz
Illustrated by Paul E. Schultz
Self-Published (Bad Place Productions)

Six stars of the Silver Screen have worked hard to keep the spirits up of those facing the terrible consequences of war.  When the President asks them to front an actual operation to increase morale, they do their civic duty.  But what happens when the operation proves to be all too real?  Soon these actors are fighting for their lives against a Nazi threat that could destroy the world.  Like it or not, they're part of the Serial Squad!

I like to linger at conventions in the artist sections to see what I might find there.  This was a great little pick-up that, while probably too expensive for most at the $5.95 price tag, would make a great digital comic, if the creators involved were so inclined.  At 99 cents or even $1.99, I could see there being a market for a story set in the 1940s where heroes similar to the Shadow, the Phantom, and other pulp figures were put together to take down Nazi super-science.

Schultz does a really good job introducing the characters and giving them personalities, even within one issue.  They have a familiar feel to them but do not feel like carbon copies of the heroes we already know, which is a nice touch.  I love the idea that the Squad are not the only fictional elements blending into the real world, as hinted at by the cover.  There is a progression from simple acting job to the realization that this is for keeps, and the characters act nobly, as befitting being members of the greatest generation.  Some might find their self-sacrifice too unrealistic, but once in awhile, it's nice to read about characters who just want to do the right thing.  These people become who they've been asked to portray in a nice piece of writing.

For a self-published comic, the production values aren't bad, although Schultz probably should look into getting an inker.  The lines in Serial Squad are very thin, and sometimes almost disappear from the finished product.  There could be more fluid movements in the characters as well, but the story is interesting enough to cover up that flaw.  Schultz is clearly trying to put his best work forward here, and it shows.

I liked Serial Squad a lot, and I would get more issues if I found them, though I think that will depend primarily on if I'm at another convention where the creators are present.  I definitely suggest they consider going digital.  This is a good story that needs a wider audience and a lower price point--something digital can definitely do.  If you like stories of heroism set in the past, give this a try if you can find it.  I think you'll like the results.