February 6, 2012

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Old-Timey Hockey Tales

Written by Rob Ullman and Jeffrey Brown
Illustrated by Rob Ullman and Jeffrey Brown
Wide Awake Press

While it may never be the most popular sport in America, hockey has a long-time history and stories that rival those of baseball for quirkiness, interest, and human interest.  Join Red Wings fan Jeffrey Brown and Penguins fan Rob Ullman as they share a few stories from the past of the greatest show on ice.

Roughly alternating between the two creators, Old-Timey Hockey Tales uses stories of players both familiar to anyone and those who might be harder to place in a lineup.  Regardless, each short story is sourced if anyone wants more information and shows that both Brown and Ullman are taking this work seriously.  Naturally, they are a bit biased towards their favorite teams, so the majority of the stories involve either the Red Wings or the Penguins.  In fact, all of Brown's contributions--and even one of Ullman's--center around the iconic team.

Ullman is a bit more varied in his choices, talking about everyone from the tragic loss of a star player for Pittsburgh to a man who played for the six original hockey teams to the short biography of a famous goalie.  His slick style still manages to capture the feel of rough and ready hockey players, though it's more in facial expressions than in grittiness.  On the other hand, Brown's artwork is perfect for players like Gordie Howe.  The imperfect, heavy lines give his stories a weight and touch of darkness that I think captures the feel of old-school hockey quite well.  Overall, the styles contrast nicely to each other, preventing the work from having a feel of sameness.

If you or someone you know is a hockey fan, this is a must-grab mini-comic.  Though the price is a bit higher than I'd usually recommend, it's well worth it.  There's a lot of storytelling packed into the 28 pages, and fans of either artist are bound to enjoy a work that is a departure for both of them but comes together as a complete package.

You can pick up Old-Timey Hockey Tales from Rob Ullman here.