Writer Bill Williams
Line Art Ricardo Silva
Color Art Natalia Marques
Word Art Thom Zahler
For Pond Scum Comics a Rats and Crows Publishing Imprint
I first saw Charmer in the pages of Octal “A Curated Catalog of Comic Pitch Packets” and I take it Pond Scum and Rats and Crows liked the pitched because this is one of a couple different comics that were picked up. Shout out to Mike Schneider and Octal for putting together a packet of 8 page pitches because without that no one knows if Pond Scum or Rats and Crows would have seen Charmer. Pond Scum Comics joined forces with Rats and Crows Publishing and the team up has made waves in the indie comic community. Both names have been doing great things but Pond Scum has only added to the already impressive resume of titles Rats and Crows Publishing has. The guys at Rats and Crows Publishing aren’t afraid to make some moves and I feel like Pond Scums ambition in starting a shared creator owned universe will be right at home.
Every once in awhile there tends to be a resurgence of certain pop culture tropes that are almost guaranteed to catch people’s attention and one of these happens to be magic. Not sword and sorcery magic, more like the TV shows Charmed or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where there is a strong female protagonist and fanciful magic that just seem to be a part of the protagonist everyday life. Charmer is more like one of the Charmed girls meets a seriously BA Agent Carter; Samantha, or Sam to her friends, is a no BS sassy BA who doesn’t want anything but to be left alone but of course ends up getting dragged into something she doesn’t want any part of. Williams does an excellent job at taking a grand world that no doubt gets very involved and breaking it down into exposition and dialog that explains itself along the way without seeming mundane or cookie cutter. Williams has put into place a foundation for a great series that could easily go on as long as he had ideas and Sam as a character can carry the book right along with her smart mouth and sassy comebacks. Not only is Sam a great character the world that Williams is building lends a lot of room for fresh ideas that go beyond this story arc and with Pond Scum Comics being a shared universe there is also a ton of room for collaborations and other fun stuff that makes Charmer a serious contender for a monthly publication that could see sell out regularly. As a writer Williams is active in the sense that he doesn’t over or underwhelm the reader with exposition, which isn’t very easy to do, especially when the world is so extensive. It would be easy for a writer that has this world in his head to word vomit or carry on about something without giving it a full explanation but Williams does a great job at remaining steady and revealing things naturally as the story unfolds organically. I was thoroughly impressed with the story in general and Williams did a professional job at stopping it right where I felt satisfied but still wanted more, which is a sign of a good writer.
The art of Charmer is seriously top shelf. Silva’s pencils are as good or better than some of the stuff I see coming from the big two. Silva’s character designs are flawless, Sam looks amazing in every panel she’s in, while they use her facial features to truly express her feelings. It’s not just Sam either, the entire cast of issue one are all unique and bring something to the table of originality. I’m not sure where to start with the colors so I suppose “wow” would be a good start. The colors are just wonderful to look at and there are a couple of panels where the characters are sitting next to windows and Marques makes it appear as though the sun is shining through the window. I’m not sure how Marques pulled it off but it looks gorgeous, very impressed with Marques’ abilities and it adds significantly to the overall quality of the book.
Charmer has a little bit of every lettering style sprinkled in. Dialog balloons, captions, actions, but what impressed me the most are the strange shapes that appear in dialog balloons when I imagine she must be casting spells. All of these factors make for a solid lettering job from Zahler and I’m interested to see how far the characters for the spells can go.
If you feel like checking out Octal and seeing how Charmer got its start then you can visit their website otherwise you can visit Pond Scum Comics and Rats and Crows Publishing to preorder Charmer and check out other awesome Rats and Crows books!