The traditional celebration of Fred Van Lente Day is by reviewing Fred Van Lente comic books. We begin our celebration (we'll be reviewing FVL comics all night long today!) with the debut of Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey's latest Action endeavor, Action Presidents #1!
I think it is fair to say that by now Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey have gotten the "Action" approach down to a science.
Van Lente does a significant amount of research into his subjects and then delivers a whole ton of information to you in just twenty pages. Dunlavey, meanwhile, is brilliant in his ability to take this ton of information and make it appear fresh and vibrant and dynamic instead of just a series of talking heads.
The key to a great Action work, though, is the way that Van Lente doesn't just resort to simply regurgitating the facts. No, sir, but he attempts to place the historical events of Washington's life within the context of his times.
In addition, Van Lente does a strong job comparing Washington's life and times to modern days.
What I am always curious about with any given Action work is seeing what approach Van Lente will take with the subject, in terms of an overall narrative. I was really impressed with the approach he took with Washington. The key angle he worked was the notion of Washington as mythical figure. That's a really great way to look at Washington. Here's the striking opening (Dunlavey again is just outstanding here in the page design)....
This is a fun and very smart, thoughtful comic book.
Van Lente and Dunlavey are selling this comic themselves online. You can buy it for just $2 from Comixology here