Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from The Bomb #1, which was published by Atom Bomb Comics and is cover dated sometime in 2006. This scan is from The Bomb trade paperback that Asylum Press published in 2008. Enjoy!
The Bomb is a sort-of anthology comic by Steve Mannion, which often stars his scantily-clad superhero, Fearless Dawn, but also has other stuff, like pirate comics. This is, of course, one of those pirate comics.
Notice that Mannion is very influenced by comics from the 1950s, as his work resembles Wally Wood’s wacky stuff and is a mixture of Mad magazine hijinks and EC horror comics. So the first image we see is a Crypt Keeper-like skull pointing us toward the large text banner at the top right of the panel. There we find out that this is a pirate tale starring Brownhole Jones (ewww) and features a Zombie Island party. Well, that’s good. The characters dancing under the banner include Fearless Dawn (she’s the character on the far left), and we see the typical Mannion style – large-breasted women with lots of curves. He knows what the people want! We also see that he has a nice, tongue-in-cheek style, as it’s obvious he’s being somewhat goofy, not only with the writing, but the artwork as well.
This kind of half-splash is also a throwback, and then in Panel 2, Mannion gets us into the “story” – this story is only 3 pages long, after all – with the skull continuing in the upper right, guiding our eyes downward to the scene below. The captain – I guess – tells his crew, and the reader, what’s going on, and note that even though it’s still silly, Mannion takes the artwork seriously, always moving us over the page, with everything leading us from left to right. In Panel 3, Mannion gives us the strange lettering across the top that shows the moaning of the zombies, and it overshadows everything below it. The word balloons lead us downward, but once again, Mannion is always leading us to the right and onto the next page. The captain is looking to the left, but he’s in the background, and his rifle is pointing to the right anyway. The mate is looking fearfully to the right, and that’s where we’re supposed to go. Mannion goes overboard with the purple prose, but that’s part of the charm of the comic – it’s delightfully over-the-top. Mannion’s style is cartoony, of course, but he does have complete command of the page and does a nice job laying it out. This isn’t as wonderfully detailed as some of his pages, nor is it as sexy as others, but it’s still a page that sums up Mannion’s comic-making aesthetic quite well.
Mannion has been working for a long time and doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Go find some of his work and enjoy it!
Next: You can’t escape the awesome that is … the Toddster! Revel in his greatest comic!!!!! In the meantime, check out some far worse comics in the archives!